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Tiger Doomsday Clock

The prognosis for India’s surviving tiger population is therefore not very good at this point. This is why Sanctuary Asia feels it necessary to highlight its ‘Tiger Doomsday Clock’.

Time is running out and so are our options because beyond a point, when the land simply ceases to be hospitable for tiger breeding, the numbers will surely plummet, with little or no help from poachers, encroachers, miners, or dam builders… whose combined effect has reversed most of Project Tiger’s early successes. On top of this we have the reality of climate change to deal with.

2013 – Two minutes and 50 seconds to midnight (extinction). Apart from the Forest Rights Act, passed in 2007-2008, Indian forests are already being ruthlessly attacked by politicians and industrialists who seek to destroy tiger habitats with dams, mines and dismember them with highways. Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s Environment Minister, said she would balance growth with environmental concerns, but that proved to be a short-lived promise. Her predecessor Jairam Ramesh, too capitulated to pressure from his cabinet colleagues and reversed many of the good policies he wanted instituted.

Sanctuary will monitor Natarajan’s actions closely, particularly in light of the fact that she has been giving approvals to almost every project that has come to the Ministry for clearance in the one year that she has been Minister, even over-ruling those that the Forest Advisory Committee advised her to reject. India’s National Board for Wildlife has traditionally been a bulwark of support for our wildlife. But will it be allowed to continue playing this role, or will it be weakened by determined politicians? With isolation and strict protection India’s wildlife can help regenerate degraded forest lands and ecosystems. This could also deliver forest dwellers ‘right livelihoods’ in perpetuity, and help us fight climate change. Our doomsday clock can move both forward and back, but that depends on whether Homo sapiens proves to be wise, or unwise. To see how you can make a difference and turn back the hands of fate to save not only India’s wilds, but our own human way of life, click here.

Tigers love water. It is not surprising then, that protecting tiger habitats is tantamount to protecting our freshwater reserves, to sustain human life on Earth.
Photograph by Jagdeep Rajput.

Author: Sanctuary Asia

First appeared in: Sanctuary Asia.

 
 
 

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Bittu Sahgal

May 29, 2013, 12:26 PM
 The primary reason for the tiger's decline is the unsustainable demand from urbania. But such demands have also begun to afflict once-traditional societies. Television, Facebook, WhatsApp, cellphones... all non-traditional adaptations used pretty widely by tribal communities who have every right to such technologies ... yet some human rights activists quote 'traditional rights' when we ask that people be convinced to move away from slaughtering animals in the pocket sized forest that survive!
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Jen Dowdy

May 25, 2013, 01:42 PM
 I think what is stopping us from saving the tiger and other wildlife is, frankly, ourselves! If we would refrain from fighting over the means of saving the tiger, learn sometimes to agree to disagree, and work together, it would go a long way. I see that so often on Facebook and probably other places. Either we all succeed together and the wildlife is saved, or we all fail together and the consequences are devastating for all life (including us).
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Russian monkey

May 24, 2013, 10:56 PM
 people who tweet, post on fb, give presentation in schools , magazine editors, photographers, movie stars, the petitioners against government, money donors all of these are indirect wildlife conservator. and we have an army of indirect conservators. what we are lacking is direct conservator. one who become lawyer to take wildlife case, who join forest dept to better manage habitat, who gather intelligence of illegal trade, experienced one can join politics to save tiger instead of founding NGO
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Russian monkey

May 24, 2013, 10:22 PM
 i have a suggestion Bittu sir. gordon buchanan said "the way tiger looks is just half the story , the way it lives is other half" many of front line conservator like belinda,valmik were wildlife filmmaker in first place. it was film making by which they fell in love of tiger. photographer may suffer from "beautiful photo" syndrome :-) but wildlife film making takes devotion. and there is no Indian wildlife channel at present. such production company can be breeder of nex gen Indian conservator.
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Bittu Sahgal's reply to Russian monkey

May 29, 2013, 12:35 PM
 You are absolutely right. Even today, some officials treat filmmakers the way they treat regular tourists. "No going here, no going there... leave before sunset." That is like refusing to allow a health service provider. doctor, nurse or anesthetist, into the ICU saying: "We cannot allow you to disturb the patient."
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Lloyd Nehemiah

May 24, 2013, 04:33 PM
  Mostly the Chinese with their insatiable need for tiger products. They have almost depleted their own wild resources and eye and pay to poachers to poach their neighbor's wildlife just as they do with their neighbors frontiers on the borders.And our Government sleeps on any Chinese issue be it wildlife or our frontiers. They can make their exotic wines and aphrodisiacs out of Humans they have the largest human population.That will ease the wildlife trade!!!!!!
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Sandeep Mishra

May 24, 2013, 02:47 PM
 Also remember, why we failed to preserve our freedom and independence from a pocket full of British colonies. The conservation community probably need a lesson on Indian history. The govt. machinery and the industrialists are no different than the British colonies; neither their policy of divide and rule. Its time that the conservation community get united instead of fighting as independent states for their own vested gains/interests. How? Need to be thought about.
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Sandeep Mishra

May 24, 2013, 02:39 PM
 Why do we feel so helpless when it comes to dealing with the government machinery? Or, are we made to feel helpless? Do a simple calculation of the number of forest department staffs in the country, the NGOs and individuals working directly towards wildlife conservation, the wildlife and conservation scientists vis-a-vis the annual expenses that have been spent on all these HR. If such a huge team and money can't put pressure on our govt. then what else can? The question is, are we a team?
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Bittu Sahgal

May 24, 2013, 02:20 PM
 The Prime Minister of India is directly responsible for time running out for the tiger. He not only offers front line protectors low budgets and therefore fewer resources, but also actively pursues the mining of coal from inside the heart of tiger habitats. If the cats have no space to survive, they hardly need poachers to finish them off, through poaching and habitat destruction undoubtedly work in unison to wipe out tigers and other wildlife.
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Ashok Vashisht

April 23, 2013, 03:47 PM
 Sanctuary Asia should also tie up with leading national dailies like TOI, HT, The Hindu etc to highlight the area's of immediate pressing concern where action is not taken against an event or a Govt move the destruction of the prime forest land is certain. Given the very small area prime forest cover the Supreme Court / Govt must declare them out of bounds for any activity, current or future, which may damage them.
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Ashok Vashisht

April 23, 2013, 03:42 PM
 Without legal action by people who want to save the last remaining good Tiger habitats its clear the Tiger cannot survive. So much care for out National animal! I
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Alok Shukla

April 15, 2013, 08:02 PM
 I can't imagine the world without these beautiful cats.