Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Information and Media; Environmental Science and Policy @Michigan State University

Independent journalist -

Environment, Science, International

The Feline Needs A Lifeline

http://desicritics.org/2010/02/25/073459.php
[Please watch the Video on the link]

Like a 911 call in the U.S for emergencies, India's national animal too needs immediate attention. If pug mark estimates by theNational Tiger Conservation Authority are anything to go by, just 1411 Tigers are left in India. The striped feline enjoyed roaring success up until the alarming poaching activities brought down the number from around 40,000 in the 20th century to hardly a thousand now. Even the number 1411 should be digested with a pinch of salt, since the pug mark census can rarely be termed as accurate.

Aircel has joined Idea in promoting how nature and environment friendly they are in their core values and mission. While Idea promotes usage of its networks, and using mobiles phones to eliminate usage of paper, thus resulting in saving trees, Aircel has owned up to campaigning for the soon becoming rare Tiger in India. To be fair to Aircel and Idea, there is nothing more pleasing than promoting responsible nature responsible ads. Our national animal needs support and lots of care and attention. Most importantly, it needs to be left alone, with as much camouflage in India's forests.

Its an irony that India has promoted Tiger as its National Animal since independence, but has failed to save them from dwindling down so badly. There is undoubtedly vast collusion between corrupt officials who sell Tiger skin and bones and make lakhs of rupees. It is another startling coincidence that another National Symbol of India is struggling to survive. That of course is Hockey, India's national game. Much like the Tigers were India's national symbol drawing in animal lovers in the 20th century, India's national game was at its prime in the 20th century. Sadly for both these symbols of national identity, the dawn of the 21st century seems to have brought to light their tragic plight. While hockey is struggling to survive in India with national players being donated money, the national animal is nearing extinction owing to greedy poachers.

The only silver lining for the majestic striped feline is that another Indian Wildlife Sanctuary was last week declared as a Tiger Reserve. Union minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh inaugurated the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve at Anappadi in Kerala's Palakkad district last Friday. This makes it the 38th Tiger Reserve of India. India needs to be conscious of its national identities and not lose them to corrupt officials who collude for their own selfish motives. The Tiger certainly deserves a better deal, and needs to be left alone to try and come back from the brink of extinction in India. 1411 could well be the code much like 911 to inspire and encourage the nation to save the striped cat.

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