West Virginians for Big Cats
Hey all you cool cats and kittens in West Virginia! This video is all about tigers and their cubs and the important role they serve in nature. If you are a homeschool teacher, or a class teacher in West Virginia, I’d like to invite you to preview the 18 minute video below. If you find it meets with your standards, then I’d love to ask you to share it with your children. After they have seen the video and you have had time to discuss these issues that impact us all, I’d be happy to set up a Zoom call with you and your class to answer any questions they have. – Carole Baskin
Your Senator Capito sits on the Committee that the Big Cat Public Safety Act has to pass to be called up for a full vote on the Senate floor. You can help encourage Senator Capito to call the bill up for a vote by letting her know that you are from West Virginia and you want her to end cub handling and phase out private ownership of big cats.
West Virginia Class Outline
– Introduce Carole
– May have seen on TV
– Operate Big Cat Rescue to care for Tigers and other big cats – video of our cats
– Went to school in W Va
– Today we are going to study tigers
– Tigers are a “species” of cat.
Word species on screen. That means all tigers have a lot in common.
– Tigers are known as an “iconic” species. That is a fancy word that means they are one of the species we admire most. They are admired for their power and their skill.
– They are also known as “apex predators.”
Another way to say that is that they are on “top of the food chain”. They are the biggest and strongest animals in their territories. Apex predators are important to what is called the “balance of nature” because their hunting helps control the populations of other animals. If there are too many of those animals, they will eat too much and run out of food.
– Although all tigers look a lot alike, there are different kinds of tigers. These are called “subspecies.”
The tigers in a subspecies have genes that are alike, but they are a little different from the other species.
– The different subspecies live in different parts of the word.
– Go into the subspecies, where they live or lived, the ones that are extinct.
– When tiger moms have babies, called cubs, they usually have 2-4. When the cubs are young, the mothers have to leave them alone while the mothers hunt for food. The mother needs food in order to provide milk for the young cubs. As they grow, they stop drinking the milk and need meat. The mother hunts to bring food to the cubs.
Then, as the cubs get older the mothers start teaching the cubs to hunt for themselves. This is like going to school. When the cubs are about two years old, graduate from hunting school just like you will graduate from school. Then they leave their mothers and go out and claim a territory, just like someday you will leave home and have your own house. Discuss territory size. Once they establish their territory, they will have their own cubs.
– One very interesting thing about tigers is that their facial stripes are “unique”. That means no two are alike. Just like fingerprints in people. At big cat rescue, sometimes we are asked to match up a cub’s stripes with an adult tiger’s stripes to see if it is the same tiger. For instance, we did this with three tigers who came to Big Cat Rescue from Texas. Image of the three adults together, then matching stripes on the one that is most clear.
– Tigers make a few different sounds. But, their roar is different from a lion’s roar, which is usually longer and ends differently. Their other sound is chuffing. They make this sound when they are happy. Maybe a few examples of chuffing.
– One hundred years ago there were estimated to be 100,000 tigers in the world. Fifty years ago there were there were less than 40,000. How many are there today? Less than 4000! Tigers are disappearing!
Where animals live is called their “habitat.” Tigers used to live across an enormous territory ranging from Siberia in Russia to the Middle East to the island countries of Southeast Asia. Today tigers are extinct in many of those areas – that means there are no more tigers there. Their habitat has shrunk by 95%! Seventy percent of the remaining tigers are in India. You can see a map showing the current habitat compared to where they used to live and learn a lot more about tigers at https://databayou.com/tiger/habitat.html.
. Today there are less than 4000. There are two main reasons for this. One is humans keep taking their territory. The other is that there are bad people who kill them in order to use their bodies to make rugs and fake medicines.
That is called poaching.
– Tigers that we keep in cages in this country are called “captive” tigers. Many of these tigers are not treated well in roadside zoos. One of the ways they are mistreated is there are bad people who want to make money charging people to pet the little cubs or take photos with them. Tiger cubs are adorable, and it is natural to want to hold them. But, this is a miserable life for the cubs. First, they are taken from the mothers as soon as they are born. This makes the mothers and the cubs very unhappy. When they try to play, which is natural for them to want to do, they are often punished. Sometimes they are not given their food or not allowed to sleep. They grow quickly. A few months later, when their sharp teeth could bite a finger off, they often end up in tiny cages.
Let’s watch an animated cartoon that explains more about the challenges to the tiger both in the wild and in captivity.
The challenges to the tiger in the wild and the tiger in the United States in captivity may see unrelated, but they are not. Our captive situation with tigers in tiny cages in backyards is hurting the tiger in the wild. Above we talked about bad people who want to kill tigers to sell their fur and other parts. Right now, that is illegal around the world. But some countries want to make it legal. This would quickly cause the tiger to go extinct in the wild. When the United States State Department works to stop the countries trying to make this legal, those countries make us look bad by pointing to all our tigers in backyards.
There is a way that you can help save the tiger in the wild and stop the mistreatment in captivity in the US. There is a federal bill called the Big Cat Public Safety Act. It would end the cub petting and phase out having tigers in backyards. Bills have to go through a Committee, so we need Senators who are on that Committee to support the bill.
How can you help? West Virginia Senator Capito is an important member of that Committee. You can help save the tiger in the wild and stop the mistreatment of cubs and grown up tigers by sending a short letter to Senator Capito just asking her to support the Big Cat Public Safety Act. To make this fun for you and for her, how about drawing a picture to send with your letter? Maybe a picture of a cub, or a picture of a cub, or a tiger in the wild, or a tiger in the cage.
Here is the address to send your letter to.
172 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
I hope you learned a lot about tigers today. And I hope you will help us save them. If you have any questions, please just send an email to me at 360 @ BigCatRescue.org. If you would like to have your class meet Carole Baskin over Zoom, reach out to me with the days and times that work for you and I’ll set up a private Zoom call so you can ask your questions after you have watched the video above. Good bye for now all you cool cats and kittens!