Parents' Guide to


By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Insightful but intense documentary about tiger conservation.

Movie NR 2019 91 minutes
Tigerland Poster Image

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This is a fascinating, engaging documentary about conservation efforts in two parts of the world with the most remaining endangered tigers. Kauffman could have easily focused on either of Tigerland's two central stories, and he occasionally moves between the two when you'd prefer more of one -- particularly about Fomenko, who's still living despite a horrific, disfiguring encounter with a tigress in 2018. But the documentary manages to make both subjects -- Fomenko and Sankhala -- equally enthralling. Sankhala died 25 years ago, so his biography is told through letters, photographs, and interviews with his grandson and great-grandson.

There's no question that Fomenko's story arc is the more dramatic. While Sankhala's Tiger Trust is touchingly still run by his descendants, Fomenko was literally mauled by a tiger. He and his team had removed the big cat from a forest that was too close to a rural community (the tigress was hunting local farm dogs for her cubs), where she likely would have ended up getting shot. Later, after the men also rescued her cubs, the tiger mom leaped through an enclosure during a routine medical checkup on the cubs; less than a minute later, she had ripped open Fomenko's face. That Fomenko not only returned to work but continues to wax poetic about the beauty of the tiger is utterly remarkable.

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