________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 19 . . . . May 26, 2000

cover Bengal Tigers. (Champions of the Wild Series, 18).

Andrew Gardner (Director). Christian Bruyere (Producer). Michael Chechik (Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.
25 min., 30 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9198 145.

Subject Headings:
Marr, Anthony.
Endangered species.
Wildlife conservation-India.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Susan Fonseca.

**** /4

This video opens with a carefully edited scene of a Bengal Tiger patiently stalking and then attacking its prey. The plight of the tiger in India is very serious. At the turn of the century, there were over 100,000 tigers. This number quickly diminished to 30,000 by the 1940's due to the trophy hunting which was a national sport. Conservationist Anthony Marr has championed the cause of the tiger for two reasons. He believes that "if the tiger is gone from this land, the land will have lost its soul." He also understands that the greatest threat to the tiger's survival today is the huge Chinese market for tiger parts. A dead tiger is worth $100,000 in China where it is believed that, next to the mythical dragon, the tiger is the most powerful animal. Through Chinese medicines, healers use tiger parts to transfer that power to humans. Being Chinese, himself, Marr believes that he may have a greater impact.

The video contains brilliant camera work which captures the power and beauty of the tiger. The sound track echoes the India countryside by using instruments native to the land. The narration is clear and easily understood. Many of the scenes are very graphic, showing tigers tearing apart gazelles or revealing hunters and poachers destroying the tiger for its pelt or bones. These scenes are balanced, however, by the joy of a playful young kitten or a delightful scene that allows the viewer to watch as a very hot tiger gingerly and slowly sinks into a cool pond of water.

Marr has targeted children as one of the avenues of support for these endangered creatures. This goal will probably be most effective with the children in India, but the biggest obstacle will be the poor Indian villagers who have been displaced without compensation so that the government can create sanctuaries for the tiger. Incentives are now being created that will offer these people a better life if they will help to save these endangered animals.

Bengal Tigers has aired on Discovery and Animal Planet. The video also includes previewing questions and post-viewing questions in addition to several web sites. The video would support a study of endangered animals and also could offer many opportunities for the students to problem solve and to create their own solutions.

Highly Recommended.

Susan Fonseca is a teacher-librarian at Glenwood School in St. Vital School Division in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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