Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright - Who shall save thee??

Greetings Earthlings! I am an Indian, an Indian by the virtue of having been born here. I know my national anthem. I savour my national fruit. I believe in my national game & adore the national bird.

But I cry for my national animal.

Very recently, there was a report in the Hindustan Times that said that the Panna National Park had only one tiger remaining.
Only one. I cried for that lonely tiger.
Tiger. Panthera Tigris. Wikipedia states that the maximum number of tigers can be found in India. It's grace, it's beauty, it's agility - no wonder it's one of the most favorite animals world wide.
However, this royal that we are talking about here is also an endangered species. In view of all this, in 1973 Smt. Indira Gandhi had started Project Tiger and had earmarked 25 locations in India where tigers were to be conserved. Thanks to that the number of Bengal Tigers had tripled to roughly 3500 tigers. However, since then, thanks to poachers, the tiger fraternity has steadily been dwindling and is estimated at approximately just about 1000 more remaining.
The official website of Project Tiger : does not state the number of tigers at all. It does however provide a complete listing of the tiger reserves that we have and the areas covered under it. It just gives a basic geographical count. The tigers are somewhere missing all along.
So, where do all these tigers disappear?
There was a show on National Geographic, that showed Tibetan & other foreigners flaunting their tiger skins. It also mentioned tiger skin is easily sells at several thousand dollars apiece. The most royal animal, shredded away for people who do not value it.
Not very long back, there used to be a tiger reserve close to Delhi. Sariska. It is no longer a tiger reserve. All the tigers disappeared. Or shall we say they were poached and then sold away. Even on Project Tiger's website, the official numbers as far as poaching is concerned is meagre. Moreover, the Indian statisticians still do a tiger count using pug marks.
This is the most outdated way to count tigers worldwide. There are a variety of ways in which tigers can now be counted and tracked. Yet, things have always taken longer to change in our country. What I am scared about is by the time the government updates itself, all tigers will have been poached away!
But why should we care? In the worst care scenario, we will just have to change the national animal. After all, why should an extinct animal be our national animal? There are a plethora of animals, we can always vote for the cow, dog, rat, cat or maybe elephant. This is another interesting article on this topic :
The way I see it, the problem is that no one cares. The government does not care. Project Tiger officials do not care. We the people of India do not care. And last but not the least, the poachers could not care less. They will rake all the moolah they can. They will happily kill the last tiger they can find - just for a few bucks. And we, we have have been told to look the other way. We have so many problems of our own, who cares about the last 100 national animals.
I will end with this thought. After reading the report when my mother put down the newspaper, she just said - That tiger must be so lonely. Just one. What must he do? If there were at least a couple of them they had a possibility of reproducing. What will a single tiger do?

1 comment:

  1. you know, tiger is at the top of the food chain. Think of the disaster it'll bring if all tigers/lions go extinct! humans are greedy by nature but their greed is disastrous for the planet earth.


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