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The Singer and the Song

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 the value of being direct and firm, yet polite and respectful – particularly in dealing with elders who do not always practice what they preach.


With all the purity at their command, the children choose to attend nature workshops, write poems, sing songs of hope, draw and paint, hold silent rallies in cities and villages, gather signatures (literally millions of signatures), seek appointments with Prime Ministers, Chief Ministers and Governors and, of course, pledge to save the tiger and all of nature to their last breath.

Sensitive to the core, they believe that urban India owes local communities living around Protected Areas dignity, self-sufficiency and respect. They ask that such communities be the first recipients of any incomes and benefits that flow from conservation, and through livelihoods that protect the forest and its wild species rather than exploit its resources to feed urban demands. 

A significant number of our Kids for Tigers live near tiger habitats and they have taken it upon themselves to communicate the rationale for nature conservation to their elders. Rural or urban, the children ask that tigers be provided inviolate spaces away from human impacts. They point out that protecting forests and natural ecosystems is the only way India can safeguard its water security... the only way we can hope to overcome the climate crisis that is upon us. 

Through this year and next, 250,000 individual Kids for Tigers will attend more than 1,000 illustrated slide shows and will learn about the carbon cycle, the hydrological cycle and the interrelationship that makes it possible for our planet to support wildlife and human life.

The dilemma facing humanity is encapsulated in the poignant words of a song sung by the incomparable Roger Whitaker. Whether we adults gift our children freedom in a safe world, or leave them forever asking “why” is a decision those who sing songs of development, at the cost of the earth, must make today.

Bittu Sahgal

June 2008



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