Tiger about to be released looks shocked. Misleading image?
Here is a picture on social media of a Bengal tiger about to be released 'into the jungle'. It seems that he was held in captivity for a period of time and was suddenly presented with the real world where he will have to fend for himself. Shock horror! 😎. It has become a 'funny cat picture' and entertained internet users, but there is a serious side to it which deserves discussion.
The human interpretation is that he is aghast at the prospect of joining the real world. His mouth hangs open and his eyes are wide and startled. It looks like he is saying to himself, "Do I really have to go out there and start killing animals for a living?!"
Well, yes you do 😊✔️. But I have severe doubts about the image. They say that the camera 'never lies' but it does and all the time. It's about the moment captured which can mislead. And of course, there is photo-editing, but this image is not photo-edited.
The tiger's eyes are startled which is normal, but the overall facial expression is due to the mouth hanging open. But I think this is misleading as mentioned.
The picture was captured at the moment the mouth was open in a way which gives the impression that the tiger is stunned at the prospect of surviving in the wild. But this image probably does not reflect the state of mind of the tiger at all.
If the picture had been taken a fraction of a second later or earlier the tiger would not have this almost human facial expression. I think the picture is being interpreted in the context that the tiger is a human. People have humanized the cat.
If we had a video of this tiger being released from his cage, we would probably get a completely different impression as to what happened in that fleeting moment when he was released.
That said it must be a difficult moment for a tiger to be faced with an entirely different lifestyle and a harder one. It depends on the backstory. Was this cat in captivity for a long or short time? Was he fully acclimatised to the captive tiger lifestyle?