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Both Ends

“Never burn your candle at both ends.” I doubt that I will ever forget that line of advice, proffered consistently by my father, Lal Chand Sahgal, through the decades. Were he alive today (he left us on August 22, 2008 after an incredibly full 97 years), he would have agreed that this image of a Periyar Tiger Reserve forest fire, raging around a high tension power cable, perfectly exemplifies the…

Tomorrow's World

October 2008: Only someone who has seen a tiger in the wild can possibly understand the weightless joy that pervades the soul when one condescends to reveal itself in its forest. Sanctuary magazine draws on appreciation to cement people together in defence of the natural world. The tiger does tend to dominate our mission, but is little more than a metaphor for all nature –…

On Insecurity

Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink. – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Red Alert

August 2008: The general consensus is that red pandas Ailurus fulgens are related to raccoons, and giant pandas Ailuropoda melanoleuca to bears. But neither the fossil record nor blood protein analysis are able to give us a definitive answer. For now, therefore, the red panda you see in this image has been placed in its own unique family – the Ailuridae

The Singer and the Song

These young children are making their voices heard. For years now, Kids for Tigers, the Sanctuary Tiger Programme, has taught millions of rural and urban Indians the value of wild nature and the connection between human happiness and ecological harmony. With help from over 1,500 educationists and thousands of proactive parents, Sanctuary has taken great care to instil in these innocents…

Vanishing Stripes

June 2008: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is an honourable man. And he would probably be just as moved as you or I at the sight of this strapping, young tiger striding across a path in Corbett, among the few safe havens left in India.

Over a Barrel

The earliest known leopard Panthera pardus fossil, discovered in Laetoli, Tanzania, dates back 3.8 million years. The spotted cats are believed to have found their way to Eurasia about 900,000 years ago. The leopard, lion, tiger, jaguar, snow leopard and even the clouded leopard are related. Though no one has yet discovered any fossil evidence of the immediate ancestor that links all these…

Dance Of Death

April 2008: After a decade of denial by wildlife officials, the truth is out. Wild tigers are being taken down. According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, we have lost half of all wild tigers that existed in India less than five years ago. Even granting that five years ago, the number of tigers was nowhere near what Project Tiger had been claiming, today’s figures are…

Up in Smoke

Way back in the 1970s, of all the absurd ideas that scientists, in search of funding, came up with, the Frankenstein Award would surely go to the guys who wanted to spray coal dust on the polar ice caps to “speed up ice melt.” This, they said, would “improve” the Earth’s weather by reducing the climatic extremes between the poles and the equator. 

Predator And Prey

February 2008: Following the biphonic yips and whistles of a dhole Cuon alpinus pack, as its members run down their quarry deep in an Indian forest, has to be amongst the most dramatic, awe-inspiring wildlife events anyone could hope to witness.

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