Project Biwan: Interviews: Phil Davis – Tiger Awareness
by Shaunak B. Modi on Feb.06, 2010
Project Biwan talks to Phil Davis, the man behind Tiger Awareness and asks him more about the organization and tiger conservation in general.
Tiger Awareness is a registered charity based in the UK. It was formed in 1998 and since inception has worked on many successful programmes. They help in spreading awareness about the plight of the tiger by giving free talks to schools, the public and other organizations.
Tiger Awareness has also conducted successful projects in India. They have provided funds to help in the Sundarbans, Ranthambhore, Buxa, Dalma and Bandhavgarh. The organization has donated mosquito nets, torches, computers, stretchers, cycles and a Tata Sumo car. They have also provided a camel cart to rehabilitate a hunting family in Ranthambhore.
SBM: What is Tiger Awareness?
PD: Tiger Awareness is a registered UK charity that helps with funds at ground level in India.
SBM: What is your role in the organization?
PD: My role is that of a founder, I started Tiger Awareness in 1998, wanting to make the public aware of the plight of the Tiger. I ensure our website is updated, liaise with other organizations, look for ways that will be helpful in areas of collaboration for Tiger conservation and look after fund raising.
SBM: What is the organization’s main area of interest?
PD: We concentrate on helping the Tiger and the issues and challenges that surround its survival in the wild. This is helping villagers that live in Tiger range areas and forest guards who help protect them in collaboration with local NGOs.
SBM: What kind of projects does Tiger Awareness undertake?
PD: We work with local organizations in Bandhavgarh, Sundarbans and Ranthambhore; we have also helped in other areas, such as Buxa Tiger reserve. We have supplied cattle compensation in Bandhavgarh, as well as equipment for forest guards and a couple of schools. In the Sundarbans, we have helped with some computers, a car for medical camps in other surrounding areas and water projects. In Ranthambhore we have helped with equipment for the forest guards, a camel cart for a hunting family, helping them to rehabilitate to another occupation. We have supplied some cycles for the daily wage staff in Buxa, also some stretchers to help the villagers get the injured down from the hills more easily.
We are looking to help in the same areas on our next trip to India in May 2010; we shall be looking to help in Dudhwa National Park also with some funds.
SBM: How can someone volunteer to support the organization?
PD: One of the best ways people can help, is by letting other people know about the organization and that we are a hands on charity that works to get the funds to the ground level, were it is most needed.
SBM: How can someone make a donation to your organization?
PD: There are multiple ways for people to help us. They can make a donation online via the Just Giving website. Also, we have just recently joined The Big Give charity aid foundation. There is also a donate button on the fund raising page of our website. Other than that, people can also send a cheque to the address mentioned below.
41 William Illiffe Road
LE10 0LX – +44(0)1455 447 315
SBM: What do you think is the main reason for the current state of the tigers in India?
PD: Tigers are being killed mainly due to the loss of habitat and prey base. Therefore they have to come out the forest to look for prey, causing more chance of animal – man conflict. Tigers are also being poached at the rate of ONE A DAY. A villager could earn double his year’s salary for poaching one Tiger. The forest department must have more better trained staff to protect them.
SBM: In your opinion, are adequate steps being taken by the Indian government to ensure the survival of the big cats?
PD: I think it is important that Delhi ensures that state governments work with National Tiger Conservation Authority to ensure that funds get to the national parks and surrounding areas. Politics has sometimes got in the way of funds getting to the grass root level.
SBM: What according to you needs to be given the highest priority to ensure their survival?
PD: Collaboration between the NTCA, State governments, Forest departments and Villagers & NGOs. This will allow teamwork of the highest priority. All the departments have to put aside there differences and understand that no one department is more important than the other. The relocation of the villages away from Tiger range areas needs to be done with more efficiency and speed. I think rehabilitation of hunting tribal people is paramount; they need a new form of sustainable income.
SBM: What do you think can be done to control the tiger poaching in the Indian Tiger Reserves?
PD: Give the villagers funds to buy land as well as compensation for moving. This will give more land back to Tiger habitat. The forest departments have been grossly understaffed over the last 2 decades, they must have appropriate amount of staff for areas and better equipment.
SBM: Who would you hold responsible for the current situation / crisis we are in?
PD: I think it is a global issue, we all are responsible. Now is the time to do something, before the national animal of India becomes extinct.
You can contact Tiger Awareness by using the links below: