Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Tiger State

There are more tigers in Texas than roaming the wilds of India. Three thousand, or more. It's all perfectly legal to breed and to buy them here. The white ones are pricey, but you can get an orange cub for $500. One private tiger for every nine thousand people.

I have long thought of Texas as like India, a kind of sub-continent at once part of and separate from something larger. That the tiger parallel exists is less surprising than the fact I discover it watching a television crime procedural set in DC. If I had been paying attention, it's been covered by a number of outlets, including Texas Monthly and D Magazine. But how does this not come up constantly? When I say I live in Texas, why does no one ask if I own a tiger? Or a Blackbuck Antelope, for that matter, also more numerous here than their free-roaming brethren in India. Why aren't they on the license plate? Or maybe this, too, is a case of not paying attention. Maybe, now that I know to look, I'll notice the slinking shape of a tiger on the Panoramic Texas license plate, among the silhouettes of cowboys and oil derricks, beneath the space shuttle in a starry sky?

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