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One of the uncertainties of dealing with the media is just how they opt to present your research. The minefield that is tigers can lead in all directions. So far for tigers I’ve been the ‘good guy’ in some publications and the ‘bad guy’ in others. All for mentioning we need to discuss unpalatable options to save tigers.

For the record, most of my research has been on the black market (chiefly in China) in tiger parts. Like everybody else connected with tiger conservation, I don’t know exactly what we should do to save wild tiger populations. Anybody who claims to know the answer, probably doesn’t understand the problem :)

So, it was kind of fun reading the piece written by a Massey University journalist. (Also, I’m marking essays and don’t really have time to craft a serious blog piece).

He’s the Indiana Jones of the Department of Commerce, or so some say. The similarities between the Hollywood character and the Massey University senior lecturer Dr Brendan Moyle are clear to see. Both university academics by profession- their ‘crusades’ take them on exciting adventures in far flung destinations in pursuit of the bad guys. But while Jone’s role is confined to the silver screen, Moyle’s mission to save the tiger species from extinction is very real. It has come with it’s own perils as he works covertly in China to try to understand the complex black market in trade of tiger parts…

Wow, that’s some introduction. Actually 99% of the time it’s pretty boring. This piece is inspired by the say 1% of the time it does get exciting. But that really isn’t the norm.(I’m afraid the reporter seemed a little disappointed that my short ‘detention’ by the Chinese army – in 2008 – didn’t involve anything really exciting- like say rubber hoses.)

On the plus side, it does emphasise that I’m researching the black market, not tiger farms. And it’s clear I use a hands-on approach, rather than hide behind a keyboard. Sad to say though, a modern academic is increasingly unlikely to live a life resembling that of Indiana Jones.

Later on, the conclusion:

So, are you Massey University’s answer to Indiana Jones?

If I am Indiana Jones, then I’m Indy with more mud and meetings* and less gunfire – I’m also not afraid of snakes

* Real academics know what I mean about the meetings. In that respect, I wish I was more like Indiana Jones :)