A picture is worth 1,000 words. Last week Senator Ted Cruz tweeted a photo of himself and another senator kneeling next to a tiger skin rug and described it as “shopping for his office.” Is it supposed to be a joke, or funny? Did I miss something? Honestly, I don’t agree with much he says politically, if anything. And personally, I’ve loved Tigers since I was a kid. I even went to a school with a live one on campus. You may have noticed the stunning Mike VI’s photo at the top of this page being able to stand feet away from one is truly an incredible opportunity. Not to get all PETA on Senator Cruz, but good lord, who the hell buys a Tiger Skin Rug?!?! It saddens me that in my lifetime, Tigers may go extinct, several breeds of them already have and there are only a few thousand left in the wild. Organizations such as the World Wildlife Federation fight for the Tiger’s survival through habitat protection and conservation, campaigning against poaching, encouraging smart development and fighting to eliminate black market trade. Then this guy comes along and puts his seal of approval on killing a tiger.
I don’t know if Senator Cruz actually bought this rug or not, but the image alone is enough and it makes me angry. Stopping by it to say, “Hey, this is cool,” and memorialize yourself with it on the internet only says “This is acceptable,” and sets the mission against poachers and traders back by increasing demand. It says to me that if he has zero regard for the well-being of a highly publicized and well known endangered animal, then how much regard could he possibly have for people? Maybe it says more about me that I can empathize for a dead animal I’ve never engaged with.
Regardless, the next time Senator Cruz wants to be near one of these beautiful animals, he should support his local zoo, part of the proceeds of which may go towards habitat restoration and protection of endangered animals such as Tigers and Polar Bears, two species which already face harsh conditions with poaching and now have to face the struggles of climate change as well. Or he could visit Mike VI on the LSU campus, as I’m sure many students would be more than willing to share what they think with him. Tigers, like many animals, are an essential part of their environment and eco-system, one which could collapse if they were to go extinct.
LSU's school fight song is, "Hey Fightin' Tigers!" I hope organizations continue to fight for the Tiger's survival. While a little bit of population control is "normal" for many species, the Tiger population cannot continue to decline at it's current rate. So shame on you Senator Cruz for thinking shopping for a Tiger Skin was ok, because it's not.