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Jungle to Page: How Tigers Inspire Fictional Stories on International Tiger Day 2023

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

I grew up reading Jungle Book and thinking tigers were mean and scary. Now as I’m older and smarter I can’t help being intrigued by the majesty of Tigers.

tiger reading a book on international tiger day
tiger reading a book on international tiger day

They have a captivating presence, igniting our imagination with their beauty, power and mystique. Celebrating International Tiger Day on the 29th of July 2023 made me think about how fiction can create mindsets and personas.


If I let Mowgli’s view of the world color my judgement, I would think they were villains who only knew blood and hunger. Thank god we have better perspectives. Think about Jasmine’s pet tiger from Disney’s Aladdin! Now that’s a tiger I would love to curl up with. And a book of course!


From ancient myths to contemporary literature, tigers have inspired authors worldwide to weave some truly awesome stories. I wanted to explore this fascinating intersection of tigers and fiction I will include a selection of books where tigers take center stage without being hunted.


Don’t forget to check out some helpful tip at the end on how we can do our part.


Tigers as Symbols of Power and Mystery

For me the tiger has always symbolized strength, grace, and an air of mystery. It’s true for many of us. Especially if the amount of tiger tattoos and jewelry is to go by. Thankfully, they now represent courage, passion, and our primal instincts, making them a potent source of inspiration for authors. Think anime! (Anyone else thinking of tigress from Kungfu Panda?) Whether they serve as protagonists or carry symbolic weight, tigers infuse stories with a sense of untamed wilderness, power, or spiritual significance. Asian culture knows just how breathtaking these creatures really are, its part of their culture and religion.


The Role of Tigers in Fictional Worlds

Tigers play captivating roles in literature, taking readers on exhilarating journeys through vibrant jungles and uncharted territories. Their inclusion adds depth to narratives, portraying untamed landscapes, embodying danger, or representing a spiritual connection with the wild. From adventure and fantasy to magical realism, tigers have found their place in various genres. Skillful authors adeptly capture the essence of tigers, exploring their behavior, instincts, and unique characteristics to create compelling fictional counterparts. Even Katy Perry sees it as a symbol of the ultimate roar!


Five Engaging Books Featuring Tigers

Discover these exciting books where tigers shine without being the villain or being hunted themselves.

  • "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel: I enjoyed this spellbinding tale of survival and spirituality as a young Indian boy named Pi finds himself adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. A tiger who doesn’t eat him. And even thought it tries we see it for what it is: instinct and survival. A must read for all tiger lovers.

  • "The Night Tiger" by Yangsze Choo: This book is set in 1930s Malaysia. It’s an atmospheric novel that weaves a mesmerizing story of a young houseboy on a quest intertwined with strange occurrences and a ghostly tiger. It was an interesting contrast to see the spirituality symbolized by the tiger.

  • "The Tiger's Wife" by Téa Obreht: Blending myth and reality, this beautifully written novel tells the story of a young doctor and her grandfather, exploring folklore and the presence of a tiger in a war-torn country.

  • "Tiger's Curse" by Colleen Houck: This young adult fantasy series unveils a curse, shape-shifting, and a centuries-spanning romance, all centered around a white tiger with magical abilities. A wild fun ride indeed.

  • "The Hungry Tiger of Oz" by Ruth Plumly Thompson: Part of the Oz series, this delightful children's book follows the adventures of the Hungry Tiger, who is brought to eat prisoners and lighten the load, but he can’t. I enjoyed reading it to my daughter and she always hugged her stuffed tiger and listened.


So on this International Tiger Day I want to do my part. Saving tigers and their habitats has to be a collective endeavor. Here’s how we can help:

  1. Support Conservation Organizations and wildlife protection laws: Donate to reputable organizations committed to tiger conservation, such as WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative or Panthera's Tiger Program. Support initiatives that aim to strengthen laws against poaching, illegal trade, and habitat destruction.

  2. Raise Awareness: Use your voice on social media or in the community talk about the significance of tiger conservation. Share information, articles (or blog posts in my case), and stories about tigers. Engaging others in meaningful conversations and try to collaborate with local communities. Supporting initiatives that promote coexistence between humans and tigers and most of all share your knowledge about tigers and their conservation

  3. Promote Sustainable Tourism: When visiting areas inhabited by tigers, choose responsible tour operators that prioritize conservation and adhere to ethical wildlife viewing practices.

  4. Make Sustainable Choices: Support sustainable products and avoid purchasing items derived from tiger parts or illegal wildlife trade. Embrace a lifestyle that minimizes your ecological footprint.

  5. Participate in Citizen Science: Contribute to scientific efforts by participating in citizen science programs that collect data on tiger populations, habitat health, and human-wildlife interactions.

Tigers will continue to captivate our hearts and minds. They will inspire tales that transport us into worlds where untamed nature and human imagination collide. Celebrating and support authors who highlight these majestic creatures without portraying them as prey, or hunter. Let’s ensure that the beauty and importance of tigers remain alive in our pages and our jungles.


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