Posted by: Bhaskar P on
Feb 12, 2010
According to the website www.saveourtigers.com, which has been put up by Aircel as part of their incredible campaign a total of 118,191 people have logged on to sign their support for the tiger. The truth is that the campaign has touched a chord with young persons. And the tiger needs young persons more than anyone else in the world.
Recently at a climate change panel discussion organised in New Delhi by the Tata Consultancy Services, Lord Nicholas Stern made an empassioned plea to this generation to take quick action on climate change and he emphasised that protecting biodiversity, forests and ecosystems was the fastest and surest way to move in the right direction for climate stability. This is what everyone who has ever worked to protect India's tiger reserves has been doing for over three decades. What Aircel's campaign has done is to create a solid constituency for the tiger in India and this constituency, almost entirely made up of young persons, is not willing to take things lying down any longer: "Why is our government not doing the obvious things -- equip and support our guards, enhance intelligence, prevent habitat destruction?" they ask.
This morning I met a truly vibrant bunch of people at the Gateway of India in Mumbai, who were inspired by Aircel's Save our Tigers campaign. Their group has come up with a name and a mission for themselves: SEWA TIGERS. "We really do not want to wait for others to act," said Hans Dalal one of the young activists. "I am a sound engineer and have worked with professional documentary film producers. I want to channel my talents to the advantage of the tiger."
I believe that there are lakhs of "ready to walk the talk" guys like Hans and the truth is they can make a huge difference. I suggested to the group this morning that they lend their strength to existing groups after doing their due diligence on their purpose and effectiveness. WWF-India, BNHS, WCS, WTI, WPSI, Nature Foundation, Wildlife First! (yes they spell it with an exclamation mark) and of course Sanctuary and Kids for Tigers are all organisations that have been working assiduously to protect the tiger. They could do with help and support.
So... here's hoping young people inspired by this latest tiger campaign will a) learn more about the real issues b) support or join existing groups working for the tiger and c) get vocal to place pressure on the Prime Minister and all politicians so that the development priorities of our country include the protection of tigers and tiger habitats. This is not really very difficult. Vast Reserved Forest lands are languishing... they must be regenerated. Connecting corridors between good tiger reserves must be strengthened. Villages that are willing to move out of critical tiger habitats must be given money and land to set up home away from the forest, closer to markets where jobs are available. The tiger is an animal that knows how to look after itself. All it asks of people is that they stay out of its way.