How could we seek to chronicles the lives of tigers in a novel, compelling and fascinating way? How could we use these stories, as the basis on which we could further tiger research, build long term histories, and keep a better eye on them? How could it be funded and sustained? Finally, how could everyone’s photographs and footage alongside amazing new technologies and the buzz of ‘citizen science’ and social media help us to get there?
I can’t quite believe it but we have it all here, all together and now (nearly) always working.
Understand, I was never meant to be the editor, or more precisely, the chronicler of a real time, wild time soap opera. The job was meant for a real experienced and talented natural history writer.
Wordsmithing is not my natural territory. Indeed, I have always pitied writers having to produce wondrous prose against never ending deadlines and editors for the continuous timekeeping that publishing demands. However, in truth, I have rather enjoyed the job; been gripped by the stories coming out of the wild; fallen in love (and out of love) with many of the tiger’s surprisingly human characteristics, and loved the drama and suspense that is life in India’s feted jungles. Sadly however, my ability to edit the diaries, caption the images and streamline the articles at anything more than snail’s pace has not improved.
Like anything that is novel and new, Tiger Nation has needed a thousand other things to happen at the same time and to settle down into some sort of daily routine. We’ve needed real experts in the field to tell us what is happening, scientists to advise us how best to use the technology, cameramen to send us footage, Park Directors to support us, and of course lots of you to help us gather the information and photos that we will depend on to make it happen. The result ; a lot of behind the scenes juggling, endless drama, sleepless nights and lots of banging of desks, just to keep the whole Tiger Nation show on the road, and a very complex website on your computer screens.
Really I am what Indian’s would call a ‘wildlifer’ or ‘Junglee’, a person who infinitely prefers to be in the wild than in front of a computer screen. I am also very un technologically savvy (if there is such a word), having tended to avoid or run away from anything resembling a box with a screen on it over the last 25 years of my career.
So if I am an reluctant editor, the reality is I’m an even more unlikely web entrepreneur.
It’s just the whole idea I could not resist.