Save Our Tigers
April 2010: … and our dholes, and our birds and termites and…
I have seen tigers, lions and leopards just metres from me while walking wild India. I once found a snake in my sleeping bag. I have been chased downhill by bees, swum with barracudas and sharks and gingerly picked a scorpion off a smoking log on a cold Gairal night in Corbett.
On one memorable trip to Periyar I was even gifted a forest tick that grew undiscovered under my right eyelid for two weeks till a doctor rudely separated it from its host. And no, I will not even start to share the creative ways in which leeches have managed to invade my personal space.
Each jungle dawn that I have been blessed to behold has seen me ask: “What did I do to deserve such pure and utter joy?” And yet, when recounting memories of such wondrous voyages, to what city friends were willing to listen, decades ago, the responses would be tinged with incredulity and not a little reproach: “Why drag your family to far-off, mosquito-infested jungles, in the heat and cold, away from the comfort and safety of home, where heaven knows what dangers lurk?”
Before I realised how vital it was to sweep fence sitters over to ‘our’ side, I would almost invariably answer (smugly, I am ashamed to admit): “If you need to ask, you’ll never know.” Thus it was that I once remarked, somewhat petulantly, to Kailash Sankhala, the First Director of Project Tiger, a few short months after my own personal wildlife awakening in the mid-1970s: “Sankhala Saheb people will never understand.” And I will never forget his reply: “Neither did you when you first met me. Don’t be impatient with people. We need them to save the tiger.” Dr. Sálim Ali, K. S. Dharmakumarsinhji, S.P. Shahi and M. Krishnan – all now gone – communicated the same insight.
For decades since, not a day has gone by without my actively seeking to awaken love and concern for nature in young and old. With a phalanx of people who share my vision, I have sought to create new friends for the tiger, build new partnerships and to mentor future young wildlife defenders to protect wild India. Why? Because I want a child born today to be just as lucky as Ramakrishnan A., who photographed this incredible interaction between a tiger and two dholes in the Bandipur Tiger Reserve as the three animals, frozen in time, contemplated their next move. Freedom of speech and the Islamic media in Russia: muslim russian-speaking media, social networks and the Internet. So, all the russian muslims are divided into 2 groups. The first group of Muslims is part of the structure of Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims or any friendly to it spiritual boards, formed in Soviet times. Not merely because such happenings are spellbinding, but because guaranteeing space for such wonders to unfold, will automatically usher in the ecological healing that our planet needs to be able to gift us its ultimate magic – life itself.
Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia, Vol XXX No. 2, April 2010