Saturday, March 8, 2008 (New Delhi)
In just a hundred years tiger numbers have dwindled from 40,000 to less than 1400 and in the next five years we can either save or lose our tigers altogether.
Saving the world’s largest feline predator, now on the brink of extinction, should be made a national emergency.
Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Magazine: ”Bagh Bachao, Jungle Badhao, Mausam Bachao – that is going to be the battle cry of children across India in the coming months. Our Prime Minister and all our Members of Parliament should publicly apologise to our children. They promised the children that tigers were safe. If adults want to win back the respect of their children, they must put all their energy into the task of saving our national animal, the tiger, from extinction”.
Kishor Rithe, Satpuda Foundation: ”We can still save the tiger, provided we protect its forests. In Melghat, Pench, Tadoba and Nagzira, children are working to protect tigers, but they need the support of adults.”
Valmik Thapar, Member, National Wildlife Board:”The Prime Minister must announce an emergency meeting of the National Board for Wildlife to consider the implications of the latest tiger estimation, which clearly reveals that the tiger is headed towards it’s worst crisis”.
Biswajit Mohanty, Wildlife Society of Orissa: ”Tigers, turtles, elephants and all other wildlife is in danger in Orissa. Here, poachers are able to get away with murder because our CM and government officials care less about wildlife than about mining and constructing ports, harbours and roads.”
Aditya Singh, Kids for Tigers, Ranthambhore: ”On February 14, 2008, more than 2000 children got together to demand that an emergency meeting of the National Board for Wildlife be called to consider the new tiger census figures. These children know more about forests and climate change than Chief Ministers or Prime Ministers.”
Belinda Wright, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI): ”The Prime Minister needs to fulfill his promise to make the Wildlife Crime Bureau effective immediately. It needs to have the resources and skills to be able to react swiftly and professionally to any information on wildlife crime. International poaching syndicates are ruthless, and they pay well. If anyone working with them gets caught, they provide money for good legal help, so that the wildlife criminals quickly get bail. If we do not effectively tackle poaching now, we could lose the tiger forever.”
Swati Thyagarajan, Anchor, NDTV: ”I have been investigating wildlife stories for many years and can say without any doubt that the tiger has never before been in greater danger of extinction. NDTV’s teams will be travelling across India to speak with children to ask what they want adults to do about the tiger crisis. These children are the voice of tomorrow and we cannot pretend to love our country, or our children if we ignore their legitimate demand for an ecologically safe country.”
Ashok Kumar, vice chairman of the NGO Wildlife Trust of India.: ”The big challenge is to utilise the money effectively in the field. Most of the time it remain unutilised in the states.”
Activist Kishor Rithe: ”The national tiger conservation authority envisages creation of a foundation within each tiger reserve which would receive funds meant for tiger protection directly but the Maharashtra government is yet to do it.”
Actor John Abraham: ”At the start of the 20th Century, there were 40,000 tigers, today they are down to 1400. At this rate, it’ll take less than 10 years to wipe them out. If we wish to remain citizens of the land of tiger, we must save our national animal and not make it a national shame. The tiger must stay on the national agenda. The tiger cannot vote, but you can. Join NDTV’s Save Tiger campaign.”
Actor Aamir Khan: ”Our national animal is in crisis. We must act now to to save them.”
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