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Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright

By Stan Stewart

In 1794 William Blake wrote a striking poem titled, ‘Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright’.

On November 5, 2023, Ashlee Howard’s presentation did a similar thing.

Ashlee Howard, thirteen years, a Whitianga area homeschool student, has been working on a project about the world’s tigers for the last three months. On Sunday, November 5, she shared her project with family and friends. Her detailed slide presentation informed and impressed all present.

Commencing with tigers that are now extinct – the latest being the Javan tiger which ceased to exist in the 1970/80s, Ashlee gave a precise overview of nine subspecies, of which six still exist in the wild.

Her principal tool for research was the internet. At stages along the way, various teachers guided the project and lent a hand. The shape of her presentation on each sub specie of tiger was as follows: *A map showing where these particular tigers lived or still live. *Information as to the estimate of how many tigers are still in the wild and how many of the species are in captivity. *The size and weight of these tigers, male and female. *Their life span. * Their ability to swim long distances in rivers. One of her notable findings was that invariably tigers lived longer in captivity than in the wild. No doubt this has to do with the care they are given in zoos and research facilities. Regular food and medical care extend the tiger’s life in captivity by about one third.

In some cases, the number of tigers in captivity far exceeds the number in the wild. Clearly the big cats are under threat in most of their habitats. This is due to the steady march of human population and their exploitation of resources into areas which previously were undisturbed jungle.

A very helpful feature of her presentation was the way Ashlee referred to a large map of the world on the wall behind her, which she helped her uncle to paint as one of her homeschooling projects. Using this, she could show the audience where each subgroup of tiger lived or still lives.

In the words of Ashlee’s Koro: “If only man could see the light to protect the tiger before it becomes a myth beyond our sight.” Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright!!

Caption: Ashlee (second from right side) with family and friends the day of her presentation.


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