Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on


In all my 40 years of working to protect wild India I have never come across a story as horrific, as tragic, as utterly depressing as this. Cut and paste the url given below to see an image and read the story of a living rhino with half its face cut off by poachers. It brutally encapsulates the horror and terror unleashed on millions of innocent wild animals by the poaching trade, whose operatives deal in arms on one day, narcotics on the next and wildlife on the third.

I will soon be 65 years old. What I wonder will it take to get our Prime Minister and Planning Commission to give us an adequate response? Can they not see that their economic ambitions are stealing our future... the future of our children?

And no. Its not a "poor little rhino" issue. Its an issue that reveals the ignorance, avarice and arrogance of those who take no pleasure from the ebb and tide of nature, or bird song, or the quiet sound of the wind as it whistles through our wilderness. Who prefer coal to tiger, dams to rhinos. GDP to happiness. Unless something can be turned to cash, now, this quarter, it is probably useless in their book!

Dr. Manmohan Singh, please. It's enough that this rhino died at the hands of poachers. Many more will now die at the hands of the 165 large dams your office has been pushing for the Northeast of India, against all advice, even though your experts are aware that the glaciers that are supposed to feed them will largely have melted even before all the dams are built. Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, you have CUT the Project Tiger Budget in your wisdom, knowing full well that an ill-equipped force is no match for the international poaching trade.

What is going on? How will history remember you?

The officers and men of the Orang Tiger Reserve who witnessed this living tragedy cried even as they related the story to me. Read on. Not to be depressed, but to drum up enough volition to dispense with the inertia that prompts us more often than not to say to ourselves: "Sad. But what can I do?" You can do a lot. To start with... write a very simple letter to the Prime Minister of India, South Block, New Delhi. His email id is: manmohan@sansad.nic.in

Send him this link and ask him to take effective steps to save India's wildlife, to enhance the Planning Commission allocation for the protection of wild India.