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Tiger Safari

Here’s a hard to believe statistic, by some esitmates there are more tigers in captivity in the state of Texas than there are tigers roaming free in the wild in all of Asia.  There’s no debating the fact tigers are endangered.  This past year I went to India to see tigers in their natural habitat.  I was in two of the best places to find them, Kaziranga and Ranthambore National Parks, protected areas set aside specifically as tiger reserves.

There are tigers in both parks, perhaps as many as a hundred in Kaziranga and maybe half that in Ranthambore, and yet it took me several safaris into both to find just one tiger.  There was a lot of other wildlife I encountered, so the trip would have been well worth it even if I hadn’t seen the tiger.  In Kaziranga there are some 2,000 Indian one-horned rhinos or about three fourth of the entire world population.

The best way to really get off road and into the tall grass in Kaziranga is on elephant back which I did twice.  This video shows some of that safari and our rhino encounters.  It also has pictures of the one tiger I did see.  I’ve also included part of my radio interview this week with National Geographic photographer Steve Winter who took the tiger pictures in this month’s National Geographic magazine.  The photos are part of the article called, “A Cry for the Tiger”, which documents the crisis facing these charismatic big cats.

Listen to Boyd Matson’s Radio Interview with Steve Winter (11:00)
To hear the rest of this week’s show subscribe to the free NG Weekend Podcast.

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Boyd Matson hosts National Geographic Weekend, a weekly radio program. Visit www.NGWeekend.com to find out where you can hear the show. And follow the show on Twitter.