I think tigers are my favorite big cat. But here are two Christmas horror stories involving tigers.
In the San Francisco Zoo, a 350 pound Siberian Tiger escaped its enclosure and killed one man, and mauled two others. So sad. The tiger, named Tatiana, was killed by police.
And at a zoo in India, a retired teacher skirted the barricade and reached one foot inside the bars to take pictures of the Royal Bengal Tigers. One caught him, ripped off his hand and he died from massive bleeding. Terrible, but entirely his fault.
Like I said, I love tigers ... but keep your distance, even on Jesus' birthday.
The tiger is a doomed species. In the last 100 years, as much as 95 percent of the world's tiger population have been killed, experts say. In India, where nearly eight of out every 10 tigers live, their population in 1900 was as high as 100,000. Today, the number is down to 1,500, according to a new census released last month by the government-run Wildlife Institute of India.
Critics of the government say it is not doing enough to protect the animals. They are highly prized in Asia, especially China, and are very valuable targets for poachers. One tiger skin can sell for more than $10,000, and tiger penises -- considered a magical aphrodisiac in China -- can fetch $13,000 per pound. And in a booming India, their natural habitat is slowly being replaced by industry and residential areas.
Wanna tiger watching holiday? Click here.