After reading Bones of the Tiger, protecting the man-eaters of Nepal, I have learned how Nepal has viewed tigers as important symbols and has helped shape ideas around culture, social construction and government involvement around conservation. The book went into great detail around the few number of tigers left in Nepal and the need to preserve them. The book also went into great detail around how these tigers have a history around being “man-eaters” and how they have affected populated areas. The dense history surrounding tigers also includes rituals of British killing them as game as well as the economic value for different parts of a tiger. All of these different social and cultural components make developing an ethical solution to the potential extinction of tigers extremely difficult.
I have developed a greater understanding that issues such as tiger extinction or climate change require much more thought than a single solution. The book demonstrated to me that despite many different efforts and programs Nepal has been unable to make any real difference towards these issues around tigers and part of the reason around that is because other issues need to be addressed. I think that is very representative of how other issues around conservation have played out.
Many issues that Nepal has around this does not stem from tigers becoming extinct. They stem from other social issues. One solution proposed in the book was “If you want to save tigers in the wild, you must first help the people who live near the tigers” (220). This highlights the idea that in order to save the tigers there are other social and cultural issues that need to be highlighted primarily. This program started strong but when violence began in 2003, this made this program very difficult to continue which is another example of why many issues around conservation are much more complicated than they appear on the surface.
These issues that need to be addressed in Nepal include poverty and living conditions. When the book talked about guards in many parks having inadequate living conditions it is understandable why some guards fall into selling the tigers into black markets. If these conditions were fixed it could stop.
I also found it fascinating the ethical dilemma around protecting tigers. When a tiger kills someone it loses its respect that it once had but does that mean that we should not protect it? I think that that idea can also be projected onto other ideas around climate change and conservation. Overall I have learned that issues around conservation are much deeper than they appear on the surface. I think that this will be of great value to me because I now understand that many issues include sub issues that may not initially look like they connect but are really the first step to developing solutions to issues. I have also learned how many social and cultural issues are connected and how viewing all of these issues as a whole will help me to understand other issues in Nepal