Review: Broken Tail: The Last Days of a Wild Tiger on PBS a no miss event

A no miss tiger of a tale airs tonight on PBS’s Nature series. <P></P> <P>"Broken Tail: The Last Days of a Wild Tiger" is a forensic retracing of one tiger’s life amidst a refuge sanctuary for the stressed Bengal tiger population of India. </P> <P>Tigers are down to all-time lows in population, and one intrepid Irish reporter takes us on a backwards look on what killed his beloved "Broken Tail," a male tiger watched since conception and birth.</P> <P>Airing on PBS on Feb. 20 at 8 p.m., this is the somber final journey of a cheeky and boisterous male tiger who strayed from his reserve, perhaps following the scent of a female tiger who sadly was never found, and he was ultimately struck by a train. </P> <P>The look back of this particular tiger’s life, thanks to brilliant footage and heartfelt narration, makes us fall in love with "Broken Tail," as we meet him as a wee cub, where he goofs with his male sibling, and chases butterflies and horses around quite undignified for a major predator. He’s an imp and a jokester, and has a distinctly broken tail that makes him easily identifiable.</P> <P>The PBS Nature series always excels for breathtaking cinematography and both John Murray and Colin Stafford-Johnson have delivered a compelling piece of film.</P> <P>The narrative, the dedication and the research of the subject matter are extremely well done. This film focuses on Stafford-Johnson’s very personal interest in the cub Broken Tail, a first for him in his travels through Ranthambore National Park, in India.</P> <P>Stafford-Johnson came across his mother about a year before Broken Tail was born, and he following her filming her, waiting for her to mate.  Broken Tail the cub arrived a few months later with his brother after a Christmas tiger courtship, and he was full of beans from the get-go.</P> <P>Described by Stafford-Johnson, the tiger was exuberant, fearless, and clearly destined to be an important tiger in Ranthambore.  He stayed filming Broken Tail, until one day, when he disappeared.</P> <P>Upon hearing of a tiger’s death, Stafford-Johnson’s trek backwards through the area, nearby villages and to the spot where Broken Tail was believed to have died is quite emotional, and telling.  The local men who kill the odd tiger he does not fault, as their poverty and circumstance is understood by Stafford-Johnson, who feels a father’s plight to feed and provide for his family.</P> <P>Particularly hard to watch is the brief segment that shows stark black and white reels of the days of the 1930s Maharaja and the rich British Royals and American film elite who vacationed fashionably as they slaughtered tigers, captured in these giddy hunting trips where the animals filmed were often not killed upon first shot.</P> <P>Overall, this is a beautiful, uplifting and a touch sad film, and so worth your time. Have the kids watch too; they will learn a great deal about the fragility of the ecosystems that support these vanishing big cats, and how we need to respect animal life and their space.</P> <P>The tiger population down to about 1,500 in India.  This filmed investigation helped to change India’s laws and rules for establishing new and larger tiger preserves for these beauties.  Indian policymakers bear the burden of protecting this incredible species and part of India; here’s hoping it is not too late.</P> <P>Cheers to a soulful Irishman who didn’t give up his search for a lost four-legged friend, or let his life pass without meaning and fanfare.</P> <P><EMBED src=http://www-tc.pbs.org/video/media/swf/PBSPlayer.swf width=512 height=328 type=application/x-shockwave-flash bgcolor="#000000" allowfullscreen="true" wmode="transparent" allowscriptaccess="always" flashvars="video=1799842474&player=viral&end=0"></EMBED> </P> <P style="MARGIN-TOP: 5px; FONT-SIZE: 11px; BACKGROUND: none transparent scroll repeat 0% 0%; WIDTH: 512px; COLOR: #808080; FONT-FAMILY: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; TEXT-ALIGN: center">Watch the <A style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal! important; COLOR: #4eb2fe! important; HEIGHT: 13px; TEXT-DECORATION: none! important" href="http://video.pbs.org/video/1799842474" target=_blank>full episode</A>. See more <A style="FONT-WEIGHT: normal! important; COLOR: #4eb2fe! important; HEIGHT: 13px; TEXT-DECORATION: none! important" href="http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/" target=_blank>Nature.</A></P> <P></P>Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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