Saturday, March 8, 2008 (New Delhi)
In 1973, when the number of tigers in India was estimated to be just over 1,700, the whole world said that tigers were in grave danger.
The new report from the National Tiger Conservation Authority suggests that in some tiger reserves such as Corbett, Kaziranga, Nagarahole, Kanha and Tadoba, the tiger is safe. But outside such protected forests, tigers have almost vanished.
The report says that today we may have less than 1,500 tigers left alive.
Almost every forest in India is under attack from agriculture, cattle grazing and commercial projects including dams, four-lane highways, thermal plants, cement factories and even nuclear reactors. Those in whose hands we have left the tiger seem not to care about the cat.
Habitat fragmentation: Increased human and cattle population in our country has led to pressure on forest resources which has ultimately caused fragmentation and degradation of wildlife habitats. This, along with the increase in wildlife population in Protected Aeras have resulted in wildlife spilling over to other areas. This leaves them vulnerable to local extinction. Protection must be stepped up and reserves must be connected to one another so that tigers have larger populations and areas to hunt and breed.
Forest upgradation: The Wildlife Crime Bureau must be made effective by strengthening and staffing it with professionals. Strong anti-poaching units must be deployed on the frontlines, which can work with trusted local community members who could provide information and field strength.
Preserving natural homes: Unnatural zoos are not the best ways to protect the tiger's natural habitat. Even the best zoo cannot even come close to the tiger's natural home, the rich, wild forest. If we continue to destroy the tiger's home and only keep specimens in the zoo behind bars, their numbers are likely to dwindle further. Thirteen tigers dying in the one of the best-managed zoos in the country, the Nandankanan zoo in Orissa came as a shock to Indian authorities who started questioning whether it was really necessary to have zoos at all.
Through the Save Tiger initiative, NDTV is seeking to collect one million signatures to represent the voice of the masses. These signatures will be presented to the Center and the State governments demanding them to take stringent steps towards saving this endangered species.
Apart from nationwide public support, the campaign is also being backed by celebrities, well-known environmentalists and NGOs.
Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta and Farhan Akhtar, Sporstsmen Rahul Dravid, Rajyavardhan Rathore, environmentalists and conservationists like Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Magazine and the Kids for Tiger Group have come out to support this movement.
So go ahead and sign on to make a difference!
Roaring for the tiger: India signs on
What's causing our tigers to die?
Save Tiger: Voices of support
Chennai enthusiastic to 'Save Tiger'
Here is the link to NDTV's, (New Delhi Television Limited,) Save The Tiger Campaign's online petition: Save the Tiger
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