The Truth About Tigers
April 2010: Shekar Dattatri is a wildlife and conservation filmmaker. He has done what he can do to save tigers by producing one of the simplest, most direct and effective films on saving tigers in India. It is 40 minutes long, explains in an effective way, using some of the best tiger footage available in the world, what tigers need and what they do NOT need from humans.
Narrated by the famous actor, Roshan Seth, the film takes viewers through the paces of tiger survival and natural history, and highlights key strategies that people can employ to get pro-active about saving tigers: 1. Form Watchdog Groups to monitor wild tigers and network those who want to be a part of the tiger’s protection 2. Use the Right to Information Act to access threats to tigers that officials may be reluctant to share 3. When all else fails, he suggests, resort to the Courts and petition politicians and government departments and officials.
With Dr. Ullas Karanth as his Scientific Advisor and Belinda Wright as his Advisor on the tiger trade, Dattatri has managed to pack in a remarkable amount of strategy in a very credible and practical way. If the right thing is done, the film suggests, “India’s remaining forests can support as many as ten thousand tigers.” That should surely be music to the ears of a public fed on doomsday scenarios. But the path to recovery, he points out, is not easy.
That is something that Sanctuary readers are acutely aware of. Contrary to what most people imagine, for instance, tigers are not dying because the Indian government has no money. They are dying because the Indian government believes that it can continue spending 1,000 times more money to destroy tiger habitats than it does to protect such habitats. It cannot. Not unless it believes that the destruction of wild nature, which provides water, air, soil and climate control, is acceptable collateral damage en route to the industrial and financial ambitions of our country.
Footage for Dattatri’s ‘The Truth About Tigers’ was made available without charge by the BBC and others, and is not available for any electronic broadcast, but is available to all those who wish to screen DVDs in schools, offices, public meetings to save the tiger, etc. Sanctuary and Kids for Tigers will hold a series of private screenings of ‘The Truth About Tigers’ for the benefit of politicians, forest officers, human rights and social activists, bureaucrats, wildlife NGOs, students, teachers and even for journalists across India. These will be followed by discussions geared to help them set up Watchdog Groups for wildlife protection.
For more information on the status of tigers and to get more deeply involved, log on to www.sanctuaryasia.com
A limited number of free copies of the DVD are available for distribution. Preference will be given to those who wish to use the DVD to create awareness by sharing it with friends and holding screenings. For more particulars, and to request a copy, use the contact form on the website www.truthabouttigers.org
For an OFF THE RECORD, Episode 27 Interview with Shekar Dattatri on The Truth about Tigers log on to these sites: Seg:1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yrfKRId4bI
Reviewed by Bittu Sahgal