17 Feb 2008, 1100 hrs IST,Devyani Mohan,INDIATIMES NEWS NETWORK
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It’s official – India has just 1,411 tigers. The 2002 census figure of 3,500 tigers was clearly an effort to cover up sarkari failure to protect the glorious cat
The tiger is on the run with nowhere to hide. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has reported that only 1,411 tigers remain in the wild in India, numbers substantially lower than was previously assumed. In Rajasthan and the Eastern Ghats in particular, the tiger is in dire straits.
TOI Online readers such as Kiron Rao in Bangalore, Rajinder in Jammu, and Vinay from Tokyo say, our inability to save our nation’s pride is a ‘national shame’.
Mumtaj in Chennai feels the responsibility lies with us. “Human beings should realize they cannot survive alone in this world without a balanced green environment and other living beings.”
Hunt the hunters: Rampant poaching is the biggest reason for the fall in tiger numbers. Readers feel harsh punishments can only deter the poachers. Some like Ravi from Bangalore, Vinayak Gupta and Amit in Delhi, George from UK, Arvind Rnagan in Canada, AK in Montreal, Parag Dave from Gujarat, and Mohit Sood suggest ‘shoot at sight’ orders or the death penalty as possible deterrents.
Viveka in Bangalore says “killing a tiger is equivalent to the murder of a human being!” Vinay from Mysore, Doha resident Raj and Tushar also think that a nexus between forest officials and poachers is adding fuel to the fire, think
Politicians’ apathy: Many also blame the political class. “It’s a shame we humans have finally succeeded in driving this wonderful creation of nature to the brink of extinction! Let’s respect each other’s space and maintain the delicate balance of our ecosystem. Politicians, who waste time on baseless issues must do something immediately,” according to Jo from Melbourne.
Yogesh from Ahmedabad, Aniket from Mumbai, Hemant and Krishna Kumar in Bangalore and Harish in Gurgaon also holds successive governments responsible.
“It’s a shame on our part that we are losing such a fantastic creature to human greed. Unless the government does something immediately, the tigers in India will be a thing of past,” writes Eshwar from California.
International clampdown : Shalc from India feels the Chinese are to blame. Pressure has to be put on the Chinese to ban tiger parts trade, he says. “If they continue to demand tiger parts, these tigers will die.”
“Between the poachers, corrupt government staff, and the voracious Chinese, the Indian tiger will soon disappear,” adds Probhat Raha from Ontario, Canada.
Deforestation: Loss of natural habitat due to rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and encroachment in the buffer zones is also taking its toll on the majestic animal. Naxal activity in select reserves is worsening the situation.
Olaf from Brisbane writes, “Builders and common people have encroached the wilds and the government is letting them… Everybody must feel responsible…”
The only way to save these tigers is to curb the human population in the country. Else, humans will destroy almost every single resource in this country, adds Thomas living in Seattle, USA and Deepak Vohra.
Avinash from Kolkata says, “Poaching, shrinking forests, increasing human encroachment is making the natural cycle precarious. Unless the laws are implemented effectively the situation is not going to change.”
Amitosh in Bangalore however feels we had already reached the point of no return. “First the tiger, and then other species will disappear.”
Not too late: Clearly the tiger was facing a tough battle for survival. Despite the hype, the magnificent animal had pretty much been left to fend for itself; now is the time to come to its rescue.
Sundar from New Jersey says, “Strict measures should be taken to deal with the poaching menace. The law and its implementing authorities should have more teeth and modern gadgets [should be made available] to detect and prevent foul play. As regards a tiger’s natural habitat, we human beings need to learn to live within our bounds and not encroach on forest land. Interestingly, such issues are not in the agenda of any political parties.”
Increase forest cover: Planting more trees and reducing pollution would assist in increasing the forest cover, suggests Raj in USA and Venkat in Bangalore
Mumbai residents Shailesh and Bhargav, and Pranav from Coventry, UK suggests similar steps including allocation of more funds towards environment protection, limiting deforestation, enforcing strict poaching laws, and curbing movement inside the park and buffer zones.
“Sophisticated firearms and better equipment for forest guards will help,” thinks Roopa Esther living in Noida. Gurgaon resident Sarjeet feels strict measure such as temporary shut down of the forest for the public may also work.
Tiger Tourism: Adnan (Dubai) Nirmal Jana (Gurgaon) and Suvid Bajaj (London) think promotion of wildlife tourism with involvement of the locals can benefit the tiger. The funds collected will be used for the local people.
“Make villagers feel responsible for preserving their wildlife. Reward informants so that it is more lucrative than poaching tigers or trading in tiger parts,” are steps that AK from Montreal and Jacob George, UAE, suggest.
Captive breeding : Readers including Jatin in USA, Sathesh John in Michigan, Mukesh Samtani in Ahmedabad, P Basu and Anand from Bangalore also propose captive breeding to increase the tiger population.
Export the Tiger: For Col. Vijay Rajdhan in Dehradun, and Vineet and MS Kamath (Bangalore), the tigers’ best chance lies in being sent out to a more economically advanced and environmentally conscious country. But Mukesh Samtani and Aditi Deopujari did not agree – India needed to be self sufficient.
Public awareness: Meenakshi in USA and Shrikant Ashar from Mumbai feel it is time the youth take up the cause to save the endangered animal. Schools and colleges can include the study of the environment and preservation of tigers in their curriculum.
But action had to be taken now; the day is not far when the most charismatic species on Earth, and sadly the most threatened, will only be seen in the confines of a zoo.
Chetan in Bangalore thinks the media should create public awareness. “A campaign similar to the one on Global Warming should be initiated,” he suggests. Murali Gopalan and Arun Nayak (Bangalore) and Kartik living in Chennai suggest the Times of India should take the lead…
Survival of the fittest? But this NRI in the US draws on Darwin’s concepts of Natural Selection. “Are we trying to prove Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the fittest” wrong? There are thousands of species that have been wiped from our planet and many will be wiped in coming years. Which species are to be saved or not is not our call….”
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