esso tiger demise

Torsion Jim

PsyMusic Radio
i was quietly having breakfast in cafe delight about 2 weeks ago, reading the guardien, when i came across an article bout the tiger used in the esso commercials a few years back. if u can remember the adverts u will be able to appreciate the proud, beautiful animal im refering to(fuck it tigers in general) > majestic awesome............well it showed a picture of wot had become of this king of the jungle: malnourished, balding and a shadow of its former self. After trying to come to terms with the picture, i read the article, and quite frankly i started to cry. This beast that far ranks most other organisms on this planet in its grace, power and sheer perfect design was left to die in a tiny cage, no bigger that the size of the animal itself in a zoo somewhere in eastern europe. I know stuff like this goes on worldwide and a whole lot worse, but it was the fact that fucking esso had used this animal in its advertising schedule. The hyopcrytical nature of this greedy, power driven, resource gobbling, planet destroying multinational company. Directed by fat fuckin big cheeses with absolutely no respect for the wonders of nature using the apex of evolution as merely a crap slogan to make their raping of the world more palateble for society REALLY REALLY gutted me.................. :no:


Never had a plot
I heard that it was dying a few months ago, the reason it was in such a tiny compound was after the ad's it was to valuable to them to use or do anything wiv, u may notice that same tiger is on all the petrol stations... Its an absolut disgrace and thats just Esso or should i call them Exxon mobile one of the worst companys on a global scale.... Please people who read this the statement is simple DONT BUY ESSO.
My company pays all our petrol, but they wont refund a single Esso bill. This is what we need. Anyone that owns a business its a simple policy to enforce and its the most effective way of making money orignated people change. We need to come together on this its for our global future im not going to lecture about esso's policys im simply going to say look into it yourself and find out how bad they are try checking out anyways enought of a rant from me im waiting to go party and need to b in a good mood.

Take care, Peace, Love, Light and Unity :peace:

Liquid Ross

Forum Member
i noticed esso also do a semi 'save the tiger compaign' with donations going to tigers or something (will check) ... cos there used to be little badges you could get with a tiger on them on the counter in exchange for your pound. but i think the small money they make there to save the planet and it's creatures is a long way from the destruction they cause... but i guess it keeps their good helpful 'tiger-image' intact for those who also dont care about the environment and want to do their 'very-little' bit too ... a little sick really !
there sure be rules like on food packaging that says you cant put a photo of an apple on the packet if it doesnt contain any apples, but rules for companies who destroy the lives of animals ahould not be allowed to use the animals in their marketing campaign.. hmm



Eco Worrier
Think you had better wait till earthling gets back from moscow this weekend if you really are intrested in tiger conservation she is your girl................ :sun:


Forum Member
Oh man this one is a looong story and I got to think a bit about what I should put in writing too... just off the plane from Moscow right now and pretty wasted, so I'll explain a bit later - but as ever, you get only a little bit of the story from the media.


i heard on the news the other day that SHELL have announced qualtery profits of 2.2 billion pounds :blink:

i hope that helps


Forum Member
Right here goes with at least an outline of the real story of Tessa the Esso tiger, and of what Esso-now-ExxonMobil do or don’t do for tigers. First off though I have to make a couple of background statements.

1. I am not an apologist for large corporations of any kind and the effect they have on the environment, or how much the work that any of them do to green their images should or should not be allowed to counteract the overall effects of their activities. I’ve no intention of making their arguments for them in that arena. I’m just going to report some facts on this particular issue, OK, and I make no apology for defending ExxonMobil as I would anyone whose actions I consider to have been mis-reported, as I believe is the case with press coverage of this Tessa the Esso Tiger story or with suggestions that Esso/ExxonMobil’s contributions to tiger conservaton are insignificant. And I do believe, overall, that a self-righteous refusal to engage environment-damaging industries in conservation is short-sighted and counter-productive, these are the people with the power to implement changes, you’re crazy if you think we can do it without their help. There’s a place for the extreme lobby groups like Greenpeace too, they retain the ability to blow whistles when necessary and that’s a useful role, but as a whole conservation must engage industry as well as criticise it.

2. On Tessa and her owners, I am choosing my words carefully in a couple of ticklish areas and I won’t be saying anything that couldn’t be dug up by a persistent researcher anyway (its all been reported on in the media at some point), but all the same I ask all of you not to forward this text or any portion of it to anyone or post it elsewhere on the internet without my permission. Thanks.

OK Tessa first. Tessa was born in Dartmoor Wildlife Park in the UK. This is a small privately owned park which in recent years has had the distinction of being not only the first zoo to be expelled from the British & Irish Zoo Federation but also the first zoo to be prosecuted (and convicted) by its local authority for irresponsible management of its stock (tigers in this instance). I can tell the story of that one another time if anyone wants to know, here I’m just trying to show that this was/is not one of our more modern-thinking and conservation-minded animal collections.

However, Tessa herself was not part of that particular mess and in fact had left the park before all it occurred. The park had handreared her (I’m not clear if this was deliberate to allow handling or because her mother didn’t have milk or whatever) and allowed a staff member Mark Chandler to continue to handle her as she grew up, beyond the necessary period of bottle feeding. Motivation for this on Mr Chandler’s part, I speculate, might have been a mixture of the emotional and ego satisfaction one gets from personal interaction with such a beast and the potential for financial gain that existed eg through using her for photoshoots or filming.

Unlike America, there are few tigers in private hands in the UK and less still in the hands of people who wish to do this sort of thing with them. No conservation-minded holder would handrear unless absolutely essential nor would they continue to handle into adulthood, both because of the danger and because it is best for the cat to feel itself a tiger living with other tigers, not a pet of humans, as it grows up. So, at some stage when Esso looked around for a tiger to photograph for use in their advertising, they ended up working with either the park or Mr Chandler, I don't recall. Mr Chandler and Tessa were both still living at Dartmoor Wildlife Park at this point. (In America, Esso/ExxonMobil would at least be dealing with a large commercial animal filming agency with properly run premises and infrastructure, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of doing this sort of thing in the first place – which is one of the many areas touched on here where things might not be as black and white as you first imagine.)

I’m not going back to check all the dates OK, but at some point in the 90s Mr Chandler and the management of the park had a falling out and he left on very bad terms (there was, allegedly, a violent altercation). The terms of his relationship with the park by this time were such that he had title to, and took with him, a number of animals including Tessa the tiger, a puma, I think a few primates and some smaller stuff. He turned this into a kind of travelling menagerie in vehicles and proceeded to show up, with his family and his animals, on patches of local authority land or as an adjunct to other small-scale visitor attractions around southern England. This attracted some disapproving attention from welfare groups, local authorities concerned about the safety of his big cat cages, and some local people living close to wherever he landed.

Before we go any further, better get the background on Esso etc and tigers, and my relationship with them, in here… Also in the 90s, Esso UK plc as it then was began a relationship with us at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in the arena of tiger conservation. They funded the establishment of 21st Century Tiger which has since then put well over a million euros into tiger field projects and is based here at ZSL; I am part of the Steering Committee. They also put significant funds directly into field projects in Sumatra at the beginning, then chose to feed their contributions through 21CT (those keyrings and badges Ross mentioned as being on sale in garages did indeed generate money for 21CT, 30p in the pound I think it was, plus when that campaign finished they gave us the leftover 102,000 keyrings which we sold through zoos for a quid each.)

At the same time, over in America, Exxon (not yet ExxonMobil) was establishing the Save the Tiger Fund in partnership with the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This fund now contributes well over a million dollars a year on average, around a quarter of the annual NGO tiger field conservation budget and has done so for some years (I can vouch for the accuracy of these data, I run the IUCN’s database on tiger projects). Nowadays, ExxonMobil prefers its tiger funding centralised through the STF, so we don’t get direct contributions from them in the UK any more but they do still support us by seedfunding sale of cuddly tiger toys and other stuff to their staff every Christmas, Naomi is organising this year’s sale at the moment. Yes, ZSL has had several grants from the STF for various aspects of tiger conservation work, all of them managed by me. Every major implementer of tiger conservation projects in the world has had grants from them, including WWF and WCS (, the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York at the Bronx and Central Park zoos, ought in my view to be as well known as WWF where tiger conservation is concerned, but doesn’t spend the same amount of money on PR).

Back to Tessa….

Mr Chandler, having gotten himself (and Tessa) into the above situation of a homeless travelling menagerie, was not slow to realise the potential for pressure on Esso, at one point showing up with Tessa on the back of a lorry outside their head office, and of course Esso themselves were more than willing to do something about it, both because of a genuine concern for the fate of the animal (certainly among the individuals I had contact with there) and of the bad press that the situation would inevitably get them whatever the reality was. They consulted us and other organisations about finding a good home for her, and were prepared to put funds towards establishing one, and they talked to Mr Chandler. We provided advice on the necessary standards for such a facility (there are no legal minimum requirements other than safety and veterinary ones), and several zoos in the UK expressed an interest in giving the tiger a longterm home if Esso would put up the funds to build the enclosure, because of course everyone’s existing tiger enclosures already had tigers in them, or were earmarked for tigers just born in the breeding programme and needing to leave their mothers soon (I can explain why this is so if anyone wants me to).

The problem then was that Mr Chandler did not wish to separate the fate of the tiger from that of himself and his family. He argued a deep emotional attachment, that Tessa was part of his family. As he was and remained her legal owner nobody could force him to give her up unless he broke relevant laws, and as I have mentioned above these are sparse (and very variably interpreted) even in the UK. No zoo was willing to take on the responsibility of not only having to provide permanent accommodation for Mr Chandler et al alongside the tiger, but also of having him continue, as he wished to do, to go in with her and use her for commercial photoshoots etc both in her enclosure and off site. Nor was it possible for Esso to fund provision of a long-term home and business premises for Mr Chandler to live in this way on an independently purchased site, because this would have put them, as it would have done the zoos, in the intolerable position of implicitly endorsing anything Mr Chandler chose to do in the future without having any control over his activities whatsoever. Negotiations became difficult, and while it was all still going on Mr Chandler chose to remove himself and his animals from the UK to a tourist attraction facility on Aruba Island. I’m afraid I can’t remember where the press coverage said she was at death (I thought still Aruba Island but the original post here said something about Eastern Europe), and I am too allergic to the whole story to go look it up, but wherever it was, to the best of my knowledge she was moved there or sold there or lent there or whatever by Mr Chandler, who as her legal owner was the only person legally able to determine what happened to her, unless he violated sufficient relevant laws to have her confiscated in any given country.

So. That’s the story. Make your own judgements, but don’t let a perfectly understandable and legitimate disgust at what happened to this tiger stop you from considering the facts or realising I’ve touched on a bunch of issues involved in the whole thing that are far more complicated than they look or than they are represented in the press. Which is interested, in the main, in generating kneejerk emotional reactions not in reporting accurately or in depth. I don’t buy daily papers; given how inaccurate I find them to be on something like this where I happen to know the details, I can only wonder in horror what the level of accuracy is on other stories where I don’t have any background.

(Please refer back to my remarks at the beginning about working with large corporations before you jump on me for anything you may object to in this post – thanks. Which isn’t to say you’re not entitled to disagree with me!)


Blue Spectral Mega Rave
To be honest, when I posted the stop esso link it was far more out of concern for Esso's attitude towards the environment than their treatment of Tessa. It just seemed like a convenient place to post it. Clearly large corporations are the most powerful entities in the world at present and if we want to change things it is only really possible with ther help. Large corporations do contribute money to good causes but unfortunately their raison d 'etre is profit. Capitalism does not take into account moral values. In general, any charitable action a company takes is usually either due to the good intentions of the people who work there or outside pressure (e.g. loss of profit through bad press, government action etc.). Hence IMHO a little cyber activism can be a good thing.


Junior Members
That's a very good post, Earthling... The world isn't black and white, and sadly the world view of many enviromentalists is in their own way as narrow as the company people.

But I must disagree at one point with your post: you set Greenpeace as an example of those extermist groups that run contrary to co-operation with large companies. We should still remember, that GP has done co-op even with Coca Cola, a company that is probably the most demonized (maybe along with Nestle & McDonalds) among the NGOs!

The issue of companies funding environmental & social welfare projects is a very complicated one, admitted.

Even though the logic of capitalism doesn't take ethics & environmental concerns into account, people do. Even in large "evil" multinational companies there will always be people who are interested in these issues among the executives. And they just might do some good.
On the other hand, a lot of these projects is clearly just greenwash... It's funny that Exxon chose to support the tiger issue as opposed to something that actually has to do with the degrading effects of fossil fuels on our precious environment.

The meager money that trickles into these projects from companies is really nothing compared to the amounts they COULD invest if their main concern was the welfare of the society (both human and natural) as whole. But, alas, profit is the star that they have to follow, or get kicked out of the competition.

I could go on forever about this issue, but now I just GOTTA go, so let's hear some opinions from other people too :Wink3: