Year Of The Tiger
2010 is the year of the tiger. What does this mean and will it affect the tiger? The date of creation of this short article is 20th January 2010, just before the start of the tiger’s year.
- Chinese Zodiac
- Current zodiac
- What associations are there to this animal?
- How will this affect the tiger in the wild?
A bit about calendars first, as it may help. The Gregorian calendar is universally adopted. It is named after Pope Gregory (1582 proclamation). Calendars are complicated but they are built around the movements of the moon, sun and earth. A year is the time taken for the earth to orbit the sun. A month is based on the movement of the moon in relation to the earth and a day is based on the rotation of the earth in relation to the sun. There have been evolutionary modifications to the calendar due to religious preferences, for example. There is no absolute reason today why the calendar should follow natural events. It evolved at a time when humankind was more in tune with nature. The Chinese calendar is based upon similar natural events (although China has adopted the Gregorian calendar).
The Chinese Zodiac assigns an animal to a year. As there are twelve selected animals the zodiac cycles through a 12 year period. Each animal represents certain characteristics that are meant to have an influence on people born in the year of a particular animal. This basic model is modified by inner animals (animals assigned to a month) and secret animals (animals assigned to an hour). I have no idea how accurate these associations are. There would seem to be no basis in science. The Chinese zodiac is commonly represented like this:
For the years immediately before the present (2010) and for the near future the following animal assignments take place1:
|戌||Dog||Jan 29 2006–Feb 17 2007|
|亥||Boar||Feb 18 2007–Feb 06 2008|
|子||Rat||Feb 07 2008–Jan 25 2009|
|丑||Ox||Jan 26 2009–Feb 13 2010|
|寅||Tiger||Feb 14 2010–Feb 02 2011|
|卯||Rabbit||Feb 03 2011–Jan 22 2012|
|辰||Dragon||Jan 23 2012–Feb 09 2013|
|巳||Snake||Feb 10 2013–Jan 30 2014|
|午||Horse||Jan 31 2014–Feb 18 2015|
|未||Ram||Feb 19 2015–Feb 07 2016|
|申||Monkey||Feb 08 2016–Jan 27 2017|
|酉||Rooster||Jan 28 2017–Feb 18 2018|
|戌||Dog||Feb 19 2018–Feb 04 2019|
The year of the tiger coming up, therefore, starts on February 14th 2010 and finishes on February 2nd 2011. The tiger occupies the 3rd position on the Chinese Zodiac2.
ANSWER: Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, selfish, aggressive, unpredictable3. So people born in the year of the tiger are meant to have these sorts of characteristics modified by the inner and secret animals mentioned above. Tigers like a challenge and will accept a challenge to protect a loved one or their honor4. It would seem that the year of the tiger is predicted to bring upheaval, the kind of environment in which the tiger’s personality thrives5.
Well, it might be reasonable to assume that the year of the tiger places a greater focus on the tiger in China. And as China (in general but not certain individuals people in China) has (most regrettably) an underlying disregard for the well being of the wild and captive tiger, this extra focus is going to be detrimental to the tiger (see for example: Tiger Farms).
Perhaps, for example, the parents of children born between 14th Feb 2010 and 2nd Feb 2011 will like to give their children some sort of “tiger product” to imbue their child with the powers of a tiger. Fanciful, yes. Ridiculous, yes. But a very real possibility nonetheless. And by tiger products I mean products that contain real tiger body parts.
There are reports6that the year of the tiger is not going to be a year of celebration for the tiger. But then has any year in the past 100? However, the Indian authorities (the Bengal tiger lives in India essentially) are reporting an increase in the already intolerable burden of tiger poaching in its 38 or so reserves. The estimated number of Bengal tigers is about 1,400 at the last count (and counting tigers is not that accurate – see Bengal Tiger Reserves). This figure is going down and could well be considerably lower. A point will come (we may already be at that point) when we will have to declare that the Bengal tiger is lost to the world in the wild. The other subspecies of tiger are even more vulnerable.
During 2009 twice the number of tigers (86) were poached in India than in 2008. Was this is preparation for the year of the tiger?