I've been face-to-face with a tiger. Yes, it was in a zoo but all that separated us was half a foot and some chicken wire. I could have reached out and touched him. (But i didn't!)
It was genuinely awe-inspiring. And, looking into that face and listening to the thud of its paws against the ground and taking in the smell of him, it seemed clear to me - the tiger does not live in the wilderness, wherever it goes, it takes the wilderness with it.