EYE ON THE TIGER - A FELINE FASCINATION
The sight of wild tigers has always inspired reverence. Their striking black-striped amber fur, piercing eyes and powerful physicality invoke a sense of otherworldliness. Capturing these enigmatic beasts in a still-shot is challenging—they’re stealthy and increasingly rare.
Humans once shared a much less destructive relationship with tigers. Their ability to appear and disappear without warning gave them a mystical quality that inspired legends of shapeshifting and transfiguration. In Vietnam, tigers were thought to carry the spirits of dead ancestors. In central India, they were worshipped as gods. Tigers commonly manifest as powerful protectors in ancient imagery—such illustrations date as far back as the neolithic era. Sadly, these once prevalent beasts are now the ones in need of protection. Our impact on the species has been severe.
The reality facing tigers in the wild is stark. Following a century of dramatic decline, just 3890 wild tigers remain. The species is hunted for their skins and bones, with the illegal poaching trade worth around £12 billion a year. For those that evade capture, survival is tough. Ninety-three percent of the animal’s historic hunting ground has been lost to land development and diminishing terrain caused by climate change. Their territories regularly clash with human populated regions as they’re forced further afield to hunt. As a result, conflict encounters are on the rise. Many tigers are now killed for posing a threat to local communities and farming livestock.
Our fascination with tiger imagery is to become a source of celebration in an urgent bid to counter the total extinction of these beautiful big cats. Wildlife charity Save Wild Tigers will host one of the largest ever photographic exhibitions in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Tigers will stalk the venue in photographic form during an exclusive Eye On The Tiger event, held in association with the Eastern & Oriental Express and YTL Hotels.
“We’re delighted to welcome this important and artistically dazzling exhibition to the Hall, its crucial and urgent message delivered by the world’s finest wildlife photographers” says the Hall’s Head of Programming, Mehdi Aoustin-Sellami.
From 18 September to 14 October, members of the public can look forward to a breathtaking display. Stroll through the venue and you’ll encounter some of the most arresting images of wild tigers ever caught on camera. Photographs on loan from over 30 internationally acclaimed photographers including Steve Winter, Michael Vickers and Suzi Eszterhas, will be available to view for visitors to the exhibition and those attending performances in the Hall.
“We are excited to sponsor this London exhibition. We hope that it will raise the awareness and essential funds to work towards ensuring that this beautiful species is saved from extinction” says Gary Franklin, Vice President of Belmond’s Trains & Cruises.
Nature, wildlife and communities are at the heart of our charitable missions in Southeast Asia and across the world. Our Eastern & Oriental Tiger Express campaign in 2014 with Save Wild Tigers saw huge success. This is a welcome next step towards continuing our support for tigers in the wild.Step aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express