Imagine if you had to spend your whole life in your house.
I know that’s not much of a stretch for a lot of us at this point, but also imagine if you had to share your house with strangers.
Now imagine if those strangers were tigers!
And you were one too!
This would be even more in conflict with your genetic programming because whereas humans are social animals capable of living happily between a Starbucks and a Walmart; Tigers are solitary animals where a male will ferociously guard his massive territory stretching from 23 to 39 square miles. In other words, in the wild a single male tiger needs at least 23 miles to himself.
And yet state requirements for zoos are just around 240 square feet, and in the case of Joe Exotic’s zoo many tigers were forced to share the same space.
So if you think it would be cruel if someone locked you in your house for life then logically you must also think it would be cruel to lock a tiger in a small cage.
Keeping tigers in these conditions also means they’ll never be able to return to the wild. It’s a life sentence because no tiger has ever come out of captivity.
And since they’re unable to return to the wild, we can imagine that if the Tiger King’s zoo stayed open for a thousand years then overtime his tigers would turn into an entirely different domesticated version of their wild ancestor.
But we basically already have a domesticated version of a tiger…
House cats share 95.6% DNA with tigers.
So the argument Joe Exotic makes in the documentary that by breeding and keeping tigers in captivity will prevent their extinction is a moot point because by removing them from their natural habitat they will overtime cease to exist as tigers.
The only way to preserve their existence is by preserving their habitat.
Anyone who loves tigers wouldn’t want to see them behind cages, plain and simple, which brings us to an interesting conclusion:
The more empathetic we as humans become the more distance we wish to put between ourselves and other species for the sake of the other species.
Think of what the broader implications of that point is…
In the short-term, as humans become more conscious we’ll continue to see the closing down of zoos and louder cries for the preservation of wildlife.
“I think the day of the zoos, roadside zoos, and circuses are pretty much coming to an end. Ringling Brothers stopped using elephants about 6 years ago. I think the day is coming where we will be able to see these animals in 8K video, but not behind bars stuck in a little cage.” — Rick Kirkham, cowboy hat wearing journalist in Tiger King documentary
And then long-term as our human population potentially decreases, consolidates, and relocates we could see land given back to the animals!
- We could decrease in population size because this is the trend in developed countries;
- We could consolidate by building higher into the sky instead of across large stretches of land;
- And we could relocate as we start to extend further out into the stars by becoming a multi-planetary species.
I can even imagine a future environmentalist movement where people protest in favor of leaving Earth to the animals…
“Don’t go back to where y0u came from!”
If we ban ourselves from Earth by defining it as a “protected planet,” we may then only permit people to visit as part of an occasional guided tour or as part of a video surveillance team, which means while keeping a distance we’d still be able to keep a watchful eye on our ancestral lands and continue to learn from the wonders of the wild.
In fact, maybe this has already happened. Maybe more advanced empathetic beings have already left Earth.
Where they then occasionally come back to visit…
“Hello ladies and gentlemen, as we make our way down to Earth you’ll see to your left homo-sapiens exposing themselves to sun damage and covering their bodies in sand. They’re an odd bunch.”
And so maybe keeping a distance is the mark of any smart empathetic being because it may very well be the mark of God.