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Ross Kauffman – Tigers and the humans who love them

Love + fear = awe. And awe can inspire the best and the worst in us. From 100,000 wild tigers a century ago, we're down to around 5,000. Oscar winner Ross Kauffman's TIGERLAND tells the story of the lengths some will go to to protect them.
Key Takeaways
  • Making friends with The Tiger Man of Russia
  • Looking for beauty and humor in the darkest places
  • "I love meeting people…I love spending time with people…part of me hates picking up a camera and pointing it at somebody. I feel like a parasite."

I was thinking this morning that It’s funny how “humane” is the only word we have for that idea, since so much that’s inhumane has been created by us humans. When we talk about the humane treatment of animals, considering the ways we’ve treated animals for most of our history, what can we possibly mean?

Anyway…

It’s a fair guess that prehistoric humans spent most of their time in awe of something or other. Mountains, oceans, the Earth, the Sun. And also of big cats with the power to hunt and kill us: lions, panthers, tigers, oh my. Awe is a very special emotion, somewhere between terror and love. And while it can inspire all kinds of superstitious nonsense, the good thing about it is it keeps us humble. For humans, who can be mind-bogglingly inhumane to one another and to the natural world, a little humility goes a very long way.

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Once master of vast tracts of territory in Asia, wild tigers have been poached nearly to extinction. In fact, many species have gone extinct in recent history. In his documentary film TIGERLAND, director Ross Kauffman, who won an Academy Award for BORN INTO BROTHELS, follows the efforts of a dedicated few in India and Russia who are trying to save them, and with them a little sliver of much needed awe for the rest of us.

And if you want to learn more about tiger conservation efforts and how to support them, visit https://projectcat.discovery.com/tigerland

Surprise conversation starters in this episode:

Tina Brown on why the journalism business is imploding

Frans de Waal on why people and chimps throw temper tantrums


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