If you’re one of those who have been lucky enough to go on tiger tours, you’ll realise why, for many people of different races, countries and cultures, the tiger is one of the most fearsome yet fascinating creatures on earth. And for many of the people who live in areas where tigers reign, these legendary predators are very much ingrained in their everyday life -with their awe and respect for the tiger immortalised in everyday proverbs. Here are just a few of the proverbs revolving around the tiger from different parts of the world – and what they mean.
One hill cannot shelter two tigers – China
The Chinese scholar who came up with this commentary on human nature must have been on that era’s version of tiger tours, carefully watching and observing these great cats and their behaviour. It is true that tigers are solitary and territorial-requiring large contiguous areas for their habitat and hunting grounds, also called their range. Tigers will often avoid other tigers, but are very much aware of their presence. Male tigers will maintain exclusive home ranges, which will encompass non-overlapping ranges of female tigers. The same was true for the powerful people-the so-called tigers-of that time.
Do not blame God for having created the tiger, but thank Him for not having given it wings – Ethiopia
If you’ve seen these great predators hunt while on your tiger tours, you’ll know how true this saying is! Their amazing speed allows them to cover as much as fifty kilometres a day, and they can easily swim for four to five miles. Already lethal on foot, imagine how much more so they’d be if they could fly!
The tiger that prowls quietly is not necessarily afraid – Africa
Just like the other African saying “if the tiger sits, don’t think it is out of respect”, and the Nigerian proverb “a tiger does not have to flaunt his tigri-tude”, this means that you should never mistake meekness for weakness, and that power, talent and strength do not necessarily have to be broadcast – they are apparent even without being flaunted. Indeed, anyone who has been on tiger tours can firmly attest that tigers are fearsome even when they’re not roaring (and you don’t really want to be in his line of sight when he is!).
The child of a tiger is a tiger – Haiti
“You can tell a tree by its fruit” is perhaps the vegetarian version of this saying. Blood will tell, and don’t underestimate the youth! Tiger cubs may be cute, but if you happen to encounter them on your tiger tours, don’t forget for a minute that they will grow up into the fiercest and deadliest of hunters. Also, don’t forget that mama tiger may just be around the corner!
The tiger depends on the forest; the forest depends on the tiger – Cambodia
With the increasing urgency of the need for wildlife conservation and tiger preservation, this saying is as apt today as it was when it was first uttered -maybe even more. With deforestation as one of the top causes of the decline in tiger population, it is very apparent that the forest must be preserved if these majestic creatures are to survive. Ecotourism efforts, such as tiger tours focused on viewing tigers, however, contribute largely to these conservation efforts, so we can indeed say that the second half of the saying is true!