Broken Tail: A Tiger's Last Journey
Full Episode

Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey won top honor at the 2011 Jackon Hole Wildlife Film Festival, known as the Oscars of nature films! Broken Tail won Best of Festival, Best Script, and Best Human/Wildlife Interactions at the 2012 International Wildlife Film Festival!

The tiger known as Broken Tail was born in Ranthambhore National Park in northern India, a vast, natural reserve for a wide variety of Indian wildlife, but especially famous for its Bengal tigers. Historically revered in Indian tradition, tigers in the area were once protected by maharajahs, and then by government sanctuaries and conservation projects. But poachers have proven to be nearly unstoppable over the years, and tigers have struggled to survive, even with the protection of the park. At one point, there were as few as 26 tigers left in the reserve, and today, the fate of each and every tiger is important to the species as a whole. Conservation efforts have been intensified in the face of the crisis, and the struggle continues. Broken Tail: A Tiger’s Last Journey is the story of the life and death of a tiger destined for greatness, who may still lead the way to a better future for those of his kind. Buy the DVD. This film premiered February 20, 2011.

  • Minna

    This story, so beautifully told, brought many tears. Broken Tail led the way, but I fear that humans will not follow. Too many of our kind think we own the Earth and everything that’s in it. My only hope for the tiger and other wild animals is that I am wrong.

  • Barbara Cameron

    THANK YOU for the absolutely wonderful pictures and story of “Broken Tail”.
    I am studying the History of India and consider this very relevant.

  • Sam G.

    I really loved the episode! It was very awesome, but sad because of Broken-tail’s death. hope everyone else enjoys it!=)

  • Camille

    Touching and left me heart broken!!!I love you Broken Tail!!!!Rest in peace!!:(

  • David Fiedler

    A very moving documentary that succinctly brings home the plight of the tiger population in India and worldwide. One can’t help but get caught up in the emotional death of this singe beautiful animal. Such a loss, but let’s hope the film and others like it influence people to take action to stave off tiger extinction in the wild. We can’t just let them go.

  • Dolores M Litchfield

    21 Feb 11
    I loved the episode tonight, on Broken Tail. Now I long to go to Ramthambhore National Park !
    The plight of the tiger has touched me so that I now wish I could help in some way, but don’t have the resources. Still, I could pass the word on. Is there a video of this show? It is wonderful to be able to see the tiger in his natural habitat there in India. And devastating to know this gorgeous creature’s existence is in real peril.
    Please advise if you have a video for sale. I’d like to give it to a some people who might want to help. Thank you so much for “Broken Tail.”

  • Kate

    What an amazing story.

  • brian

    tigers are the best.

  • pbrower2a

    I never thought that I could get sentimental about a tiger. Awed? Sure. Inspired? Sure. Sentimental? No way. Not the Darth Vader of the jungle.

    This tiger had individuality that I rarely attribute to cats of an kind, including the small ones. It’s as individual as a dog, itself a rather tiger-like creature.

  • Jack Byrom

    An absolutely incredible story and film. Nature has done it again, by producing a show of the highest quality. So shame on the dingbats in the U.S. House playing politics with PBS funding this week. If we fired 90 nearly worthless, snotty Congressmen (I mean get rid of their jobs permanently), brought 50 troops home from Afghanistan, and pulled a few federal nuclear power plant loans off the table, we could fund public broadcasting (20% anyway) for the next 10 years.
    This was an amazing show and I am so grateful to have been able to see this family of tigers.

  • Agoyothe of the Southwest

    How much more destruction will we “allow” to continue before we do something to come to the aide of Broken Tail’s Mother and her cubs? Let’s respect and care for Broken Tail’s spirit.

    Just think what these folks above me (and below me) can do if we organize and act!

    1,400 Tigers to 6,000,000,000 Humans and counting?

    I know, I know, it’s in another country, but what if, what if….we don’t act and just cry?

  • Srikanth

    A few of the folks that have posted here want to know how they can help to save the tiger. One way is to support the Save the Tiger Fund at
    This initiative is backed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in the US. It is also backed by the Indian government and a lot Indian celebrities are throwing their weight behind this initiative to raise awareness.
    The fund is committed to saving the tiger across 13 countries and is not just limited to saving the Indian tiger.

  • Hansa

    I am heartbroken. Simply heartbroken. Where is this planet going?

    This is such a beautifully shot and told story. Thank you. P B S rocks.

    Thanks Srikanth for the information. Very helpful.

  • Darby

    This is disturbing, What can I do help preserve the habitat for tigers like Broken Tail. We already lost too much, too soon and forever. This is disturbing, thank you

  • vaibhav india

    the episode gives a real taste about the magical environment in and around ranthambhore . apart from any reserve in india ranthambhore has been always special . the stories of the superb tigers of ranthambhore like genghis in 1980s,machli and broken tail has always been fascinating.

  • Leslie

    Beautiful, heart-wrenching story! The tiger, among other species, are facing shrinking habitats all over the world. I was happy to read the end notes about efforts to expand the wild tiger’s sanctuary areas in India! I hope, also, that the people there are educated about the need for conservation of these habitats.

  • maria

    oh this was a heart touching story i love how this shoe captures animals just being a part of nature.
    I hope nature never comes to an end.

  • Cindy Olen

    As long as we, as a species, cannot conquer our baser natures nor refuse to let go of deleterious, outmoded traditions, we will not be able to save critically endangered flora and fauna, nor the landscapes they depend upon. We are 6 billion and counting because we will not (not can-not) control our fecundity in any meaningful way world wide. Every one of those 6 billion needs food, water, energy and land in order to survive. Add to that basic condition our greed, selfishness, aggressiveness, territoriality, xenophobia, and lust for superfluous material comforts, and we create a world in which tigers don’t stand a chance. Nothing, in fact, will stand a chance…not even us. We have the intellectual ability to change, and as the film-maker in Broken Tail pointed out, we have the knowledge needed to do what’s right and the means to disseminate that knowledge. That we do not change, that we do not teach and act on what we know, simply means that we lack the will to do so.

  • Julia

    Oh wow. That was a tear-jerker. I’m willing to contribute to change in favor of respecting life, and lives like endangered tigers in India.

  • chad c

    very sad

  • Mark

    Am I the only person that felt a twinge when I saw the poor children living in shacks with barefeet (or poor shoes) and torn clothes? Are we so blind to the plight of those innocent children that all we notice are the tigers? Any viable solution to the problem of the tigers, if one can be found, must include all those involved, including the people that are only trying to put bread in the mouths of their children. Crying over the tigers without shedding any tears for the impoverished people squeezing out a living next door is naive and will save neither in the end.

  • Syed

    Mark I totaly agree with you… We need to look into educating those village people and giving them the opportunity to make it easy for them to be able to put food on table for their children, than only we can look into saving this Tiger’s. Poverty is forcing this people to take this unwanted actions just to be able to feed themselfs, very sad.. Our government have enough money to drop millions of dollars of bombs on humans for their greed but not enough to fund PBS. Shame on us for being ignorant about wars and not taking actions to stop them.. peace

  • Sonia

    My son and I were in Bandhavgarh, India in February to see the tigers. Having spent 4 days in the park searching for them every day starting at 6 am we only were lucky to see them on 2 occasions. The experience left us wishing that the government of India would step in with some affirmative steps to protect the tigers in their country. India is the last stronghold of the tigers and the numbers are dwindling. Also, with all these parks all over India that are not currently connected the tigers will slowly disappear.

  • Taylor Skyline

    I hate the part where it shows tigers dying.

  • Shannon

    Tigers are usually my favorites. But I prefer to watch siberian tigers in the snow. Otherwise, this episode was good. I just hate to see tigers and other wild animals dying. I hate the fact seeing tigers and lions disappearing all over the world. And there is nothing we can’t do. It is pitiful to watch this day after day. I just can’t believe that the time is coming, that one day, that tigers could be extinct.

  • kumiko

    A truly beautiful story D: made want to cry

  • Laura

    Thanx for you’r dedication and showing us this masterpiece. i will never forget it. I fell in Love with Broken Tail as well. Nature is raw! Through all the dualities of his life there was Love and compassion. What a journey !

  • Subree Subramanian

    Human activities are threat to many species in the world. If this continues, the existence of his own species will be under threat….we are moving so fast as if there is no tomorrow.. is this good? lets think for ourselves.

  • Claire

    I think that Broken Tail left us with so much information and we should take advantage of it by doing something to help our wildlife. Broken Tail showed people what life for a tiger means. It stresses the importance of tigers in our ecosystem. I don’t think anyone could walk away after watching this show and not be inspired to do even the tiniest thing to help tigers. Thanks P.B.S. for making such an awesome show.

  • Michael

    *sshole tiger killers. I would hunt them down into extinction.

  • shealynn lovin hym

    darby , just because you think it was disterbing dont mean tht others do too , keep your oppioion to yuur danm self :) thanks

  • Tyler

    I dont know if you mind,but broken tail was used in erin hunters book,warriors,and he is a cruel leader who kills his own people and drives off others,he died when he was poisened,because he was blind and thunder clan had took hm in,he tried to kill thunder clan in return.also,all chareters are cats

  • abigail

    I enjoyed watching this sad program, It’s sad how humans have taken over just about every peice of earth leaving nothing for anything else. I can’t wait for JESUS to come back, then everything will be AWESOME AGAIN

  • mario

    yes, sad but at the same time a beautiful story. we can learn a lot from it.

  • Scott Spiltlman

    I Love Tigers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I m a wussy I don’t want to see broken tail die
    So I have yet to watch this

  • Natasha Israni

    Beautiful and yet heart wrenching film. This film should be put on the Environmental Science syllabus in schools in India! The film makers did a marvellous job, seemingly built on a real love for Broken Tail and its ilk. I hope and pray that there is more change on the ground and that establishment of wildlife coridoors is taken up seriously by the Indian govt.

  • Sue W.

    My heart breaks every time an animal is needlessly killed, abused or maimed. There are estimated to be about 3,200 wild tigers remaining in the world! Both wild and captive tigers are being killed for their body parts; ie:claws, teeth, whiskers & bones, wildlife experts say. I am proud to say a New Jersey lawmaker wants to make the state an international model for protecting against illegal sales of tiger bones & other body parts. The bill would require N.J.’s captive tigers be counted, registered & tracked to ensure their body parts don’t end up on the Black Market. Even though N.J. has a small population, 24, living at 5 zoos, preserves, Six Flags Great Adventure having of those, the bill would be a deterrent at the Newark ports & in the New York underground. It would give law enforcement the needed tool to capture criminals who deal in wild animal products. With DNA evidence, any aspect of the tiger could be traced & would deter owners from entering into the trade. As a resident of the Jersey Sore, I frequent & help support the AHS Popcorn Park Zoo, in Lacey Twp., Ocean County. It is a wonderful animal shelter & zoo. They have 3 beautiful tigers. I encourage you to visit to watch the tigers scamper & play. Lounging in their pool in summer, making snowballs & rolling them around in the winter. To stand a mere 3-4 feet away & look into their beautiful, bright eyes, admire the perfect markings in their fur. I guarentee you will want to donate to Save The Tigers. They are MAJESTIC!

  • Joel F.

    Can see why it won the award. Good to know that activist, television and political parties are really trying to preserve and restore are fragile wildlife systems everywhere. I highly recommend the special Discovery did a couple years ago about the two tiger brothers that were an experiment as to whether cubs could be raised by man and released into the wild. Just wish pbs offered HD streaming, but whole episodes is a thankful thing to have.

  • sports48

    I sat an cried thru the whole thing. My heart is so full of love for these beautiful creatures.
    These wonderful animals are our treasures. I used to hate the way they were captured and paraded around
    in zoos and such,but now it is their survival.

    I cried the other day reading that poachers shot the very last rhino of his type in Africa.
    Just think..looking thru the scope of that gun,having the ability to save the very last rhino
    of his type. But he chose murder. I can tell you I would shoot the poachers !

    The other tear flowing story was the silver back family that was God it was such
    a reverent feeling for those magnificent beasts,I won’t ever get over it.

    Back to Broken tail,the man telling the story was incredible. His heart was out there for Broken Tail.
    May he live forever in our heart. God Bless animal lovers !

  • Laura

    That was an amazing story that brought tears to my eyes. It truly is a shame that these beautiful animals, along with others, are so close to extinction. Something really needs to be done about poachers, there should be worse consequences if you kill animals that are so close to extinction. I believe it should also be illegal to even buy products, such as fur, that are made from these animals, that give people reasons to kill these beautiful creatures. If they make it illegal to purchase products made from these animals and be very strict about it with harsh consequences like hefty fines and jail time that would make it so poachers have no reason to kill the animals in the first place, they would make no money off of it. If they make it so every single person involved in the killing of these animals suffers the consequences, whether you killed the poor animal, bought the product that was made out of the animal, sold it in your store, delivered the product or whatever that would take care of the problem from all ends and nobody would want anything to do with the killing of these animals and all these beautiful different creatures would no longer be extinct or on the verge of extinction. I have a blanket made of faux fur and it’s extremely warm, looks real and is just as good and does it’s job, I don’t see any need in killing an animal in today’s world, in these times, when there are sooooo many different types of fabrics and everything that can get the job done and look just as good. People need to stop worrying about showing off their money just to get real fur and other expensive things made from poor animals.

  • Lori

    A masterful telling of a story that needs to be heard. If India, a continent where there are so many amazing things to see, wants to attract visitors and remain viable as a tourist destination then it needs to think ahead and keep fenced preserves so that there will be wild places where the tiger can flourish. Big swaths of land where the wild places can be preserved, and where tourists can come and see what a wild tiger, a magnificent beast, and it’s prey look like. The time of shooting them because they are a danger to the human population is ended. The tiger population is in danger because the humans are taking over. I am not saying that India should displace people to accommodate the Tigers. There are still wild places where people do not live. I am saying, set aside those wild places that are still left, fence them off so the tigers will not accidentally be killed, and make the world safe for both tigers and humans. Then the tourists can come and see, the local people will have extra income from the tourists, and the wild tigers will not have to go extinct.

  • Erin Kennedy

    It’s heart-wrenching to realize that their were tens of thousands of tigers in India and to now know there’s 26 in Rathhebourne.Whenn I saw the stock footage of Queen Ellizabeth with Prince Albert on a rammpage of tiger slaughter – I reallized that the monarchy must end food the legacy of the tiger is by far the more precious.When I realized that one nation can go on unlimited exrploits by annihilating it’s most sacred symbol,I realize that we are’nt teaching what maatters.When I can peer at extinction unfolding. Before. Myeyes I fear that we have tipped the balance irreevocably and I pray our species. Will be curtailed first so that the inherent reverence for life by all other species may thrive for pour step has been an extreme over-explosion of our place on this. Planet of life.

  • Howie Nguyen

    As a student my teacher offered this program as extra credit if I watched the show and wrote about it. But when I finished watching I realized that this is more than just extra credit anymore its about saving an entire species.

  • Ryan

    If only we all loved life as much as you loved this tiger.

  • José A. Guerrero

    After reading for more than three hours all the postings in this forum, I realized that many people have expressed better than me all those negatives feelings of sadness, pain, hopelessness, hurt, and so on, but also they have been able to express those other positive feelings of gratitude, admiration and hope.

    It’s good to shed a tear for what we lose but it’s much better to do what is necessary to do, in order to avoid more of those type of loses. The old saying that “put the money where your mouth is”, should be re-phrased: “…where your heart is”.

    Speaking of HOPE, I embrace also the idea of taking action for the survival of this majestic animal. My hope is to be part of a group of honest people who solemnly swear to their own insides, to their own heart to stand by those noble principles and radical actions that will give an opportunity for the Tigers in India to survive.

    Will continue…

  • José A. Guerrero


    But for all of these well wishes, (of mine and everybody else) it is necessary a PLAN, that can contemplate several REALISTIC options available, right here in the USA, as well as down there, in INDIA and around the world.

    Without trying to offend anybody, I may say that the most eloquent and articulated person I have read in this forum is Loretta Goclowski (click on “Mischievous Tiger”), in terms of taking action, because she is envisioning a plan, proposing the same Filmmaker (Colin Stafford-Johnson, an honest truly tiger-lover) as the leader or ‘spearhead’ for a defined goal: construction of a fence. Specific initiative that will contribute in the rescue of our beloved tiger, and also, she is mentioning several resources as well as the maintenance of her plan.

    Will continue…

  • José A. Guerrero


    Of course, her plan is not finished yet, it’s just a proposal, neither is the best, but it’s the only one that covers several aspects of a gigantic enterprise, not only that, I think that it may inspire to others in creating other plan(s), if its actual goals are too narrow for some people.

    What is necessary to do to her plan is polishing it, adding the necessary information (as what it has been done and what the actual foundations are doing in the same area, along with researches done, etc) and formally presenting it, either/or both, to the United Nations, the governments of India and the surrounding countries, and then start this long journey together.

    Her plan leaves a wide room for improvement and for everybody else contributing to it. My thoughts are that opening a Facebook account in which we can talk more freely, dedicating an space for maturing certain ideas, strengthening other ones thru a civilized discussion will bring a ton of richness.

    Helping to save the tigers is more of a moral act that also can be translated as procuring to save our own consciousness from the judgemental fury of future generations.

  • Marie

    AWW! It is so sad!!!!!! I loved Broken Tail’s story so much that I sent the video to some of my teachers! Rest in Peace Broken Tail! I luv u!! :(

  • Mary M.

    Whew, this film is beyond words. I feel like I just came home from a funeral for one of my siblings. Such an indictment on us humans. So grievously heartbreaking. Such magnificent Cats. Bravo to the narrator. He & this story speak with such HEART! Broken Tail’s a champion indeed; for his entire species. Excellent work. Thank you for this.

  • F

    Very moving story; very tragic ending; and a very compassionate piece of work. The camera work is superb as well – great footage.

  • John S.

    I am an 8th grade teacher and I have shown this film to all of my classes this year. We are trying to help students to understand their vital relationship with nature and that they live inside the web of life not on the outside, as most people tend to see themselves. This film was so incredibly put together that it has captivated all of my students and I believe that Colin, his assistant and Broken Tail have made life altering changes for so many people. Tigers, like many other animals that we connect so strongly with, must have an opportunity to survive. We have damaged the earth enough – it is time that a new charge be born – the way that native American nations lived within great mystery and all that it offers us.

  • Gwen

    Haven’t watched it yet, am touched by all the comments. Is this an appropriate video to show to a 5th grade science class?

  • Wunkarr

    What a powerful story.

  • Karen Cotter

    This story can be repeated in every corner of the world, in every country on land, sea and in the sky. We will always have billions of uneducated people who’s minds are on nothing more than their next meal, their next acquisition, their next object of bragging rights, their next trophy to hang on the wall or to throw on the floor to walk on….the reasons for thoughtlessness are not inherent in rich or poor, solely the unthinking, uneducated, self centered humans who far outnumber their opposites. ‘

    While we were a poor family, my parents were great advocates of Nature and the out of doors and all Nature’s creatures. From a toddler, I had books on all families of animals, avian, land and sea. I’m 75 now and have spent a lot of time out of doors, joined many conservation groups and have been fortunate to have a second home now in Condor land…that has been the pinnacle of raptor experiences in my life. Living in California has been a blessing as we still have many protected critters and I’ve seen them all. My second home is on Mt. Pinos in Ventura County and I’ve enjoyed condors sitting on my deck railing and “playing” with things on my deck (harmless things) and they are clever birds as well. At any rate, this is my first year watching several eagle websites, (Iowa, Minnesota, and I visited the 5 eagles’ nests on Catalina Island and Santa Rose this year. After watching the Midwestern eagles, what a treat that was! Carry on! You have a strong supporter here!

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