There is a poster on the London Underground that takes your breath away. It shows the huge head of a tiger staring straight into the face of a young boy. Their noses are nearly touching - and the gaze of the boy is equally intent. In the space between their eyes is an invitation. It reads: 'Come within a whisker of nature's most breathtaking predator.' But it is the message I like to ponder most; which of the two is 'nature's most breathtaking predator'?
The experience left me in awe of what I had just seen. I came to investigate legendary stories of man-eaters, but left with much more. Tigers are the animals I have most wanted to see my entire life and now to have an encounter of that magnitude I was left essentially speechless and just so proud to have been there, so privileged to have seen that.
I heard talk of the current session of parliament ending ready for party conference season, making me think back to when I worked in an office and the three weeks leading up to our Christmas shindig was a nightmare of people preparing for our get together like it was the only time they'd ever been to a party.
The tiger is one of the most iconic of wild animals. Sleek, magnificent and instantly recognisable, the tiger has become immortalised in the legends, values and lore of many human cultures. Works of William Blake, A.A. Milne and Walt Disney have established the tiger as an object of fascination and endearment.
What can we do to stop this, I hear you ask? Well, we need to physically protect the wild tiger. There are trained anti-poaching patrols on the ground right now. Some of them are only equipped with bicycles, and binoculars. These brave people need more equipment to enable them to succeed. They need walkie talkies and mobile phones, Jeeps, trained dogs, tents, and a host of other equipment for them to succeed. We also need to employ and train more local people to do this vital work.