Tomar the Tiger missed by people far and wide
Canadaeast News Service
Published Tuesday January 8th, 2008
Those missing Tomar the Tiger since his death in December are found well beyond the borders of New Brunswick.
Dozens of newspapers and blogs around the world carried news of his death, and in Asia particularly, there had been considerable interest in the tiger’s yearlong battle with kidney trouble.
Magnetic Hill Zoo general manager Bruce Dougan has received a letter from a Tomar fan in South Korea. The message from Jitack Kim stands out for the heartfelt effort the author put into expressing his sorrow and condolences in English.
“I want to say ‘happy new year,’ but since I read the news about Tomar, I can not say such a happy greeting to you, because I feel sorry,” he wrote.
“I read the article that you announced about passing Tomar the lovely tiger. I felt much sad, but when I read your article, especially Tomar enjoyed nearly full one year without big pain,’ then my feeling was getting better.”
Kim, who has also spread news of Tomar’s death to his fellow Koreans through a website he runs, also wrote, “every life has the ending, but this ending is not always sad … I’m sure that Tomar is now in peaceful place with much much better healthy and lovely condition. We Korean says, good bye is not only for sad parting … but also has the meaning of ‘so long,’ and if Tomar could say a words when he passed away, he might said so long, instead of saying good bye to all of New Brunswick people.”
Dougan marvelled at the far-flung impact Tomar had. He also suggested a reason for Tomar’s inspiring particularly strong feelings in Asia.
“The Amur tiger, as it’s now known, is the national symbol of Korea,” he said.
Its majesty is an inspiration to Koreans akin to how Americans feel about the bald eagle, if not quite the way Canadians feel about the beaver.
The Amur tiger takes its name from the Amur River. One of the world’s longest rivers, the Amur flows across northeast Asia through the Siberian tigers’ normal habitat of boreal forest.
Brought back form the brink of extinction in the 1940s, the Amur tiger is still an endangered species.
Tomar was born on November 14, 1988 at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He arrived at the Magnetic Hill Zoo as a five month old cub in April of 1989. The Zoo’s only tiger was 19 years old; tigers typically live from 18-25 years in captivity.
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