Saturday, October 29, 2011

Save the tiger & leopard

From over one hundred thousand tigers in 18th century the population has plummeted down to a mere 1500 plus animals. This is also an indication of large scale transition of the natural land in India to agriculture and expanding human civilization. The land area has been overtaken by rural and urban societies for habitation, agrarian and industrial activities. The biggest decline was due to habitat loss and not the Royal hunting sprees.

Large scale destruction of natural land - the vital ecosystems - has reduced greatly, space for other life forms.   The grasslands and forests have suffered a major brunt due to human expansion. A small percent of total area has been left for other life forms, and even within that area tussle has been going on to deliver it to humans. This right and that right! Alternative solutions are seemed as too tardy.

Our constitution rightly points out:

Of the People
By the People
For the people

Literarily meaning for some - everything for the people, but other forms of life are a consideration in India as well. It was under Shrimati Indira Gandhi that a strong initiative was taken to stem the rot.  And it worked, the Wildlife Protection Act, Project Tiger all were the right measures. By her personal interest and involvement a strong message was sent to the marauders, - enough is enough.  A light was dimmed in infancy; there was great hope from Sh. Rajiv Gandhi. (The author is quoting factual observations and nothing else). Lot of conservationist will agree with my assessment.

The Project Tiger slithered down as Panna and Sariska fiasco stand testimony. Unable to visualize new threats the administration was unable to track the poachers and their heinous deeds. Was contribution there from corrupt practices/lethargy for the local extinction? Ask Anna?

Enthusiasm has died down completely. Much ignored the leopard in India is dyeing a silent death like many others who have inherited the Earth besides us. Media savvy people realize this. Even now conservation measures are implemented but they should wider in perspective.    Half hearted approach does not augur well; the country has more resources at hand   than earlier.

In keeping with the spirit of the Vedic scriptures and let live policy, a large number of protected areas were created.  These have provided succor to one and all forms, and act as respirators for our clogged lungs. She step her foot down to prevent any intrusion into the silent valley and many other ecosystems. She left a strong legacy behind, unfortunately barring few it was never followed from strength to strength. A section obsessed with development can go reckless and maneuver over all constraint in order achieve the objective - eco- friendly or not.          

There still exist a voice of sanity; people dedicated to conservation, many concerned administrators/politicians and NGOs. The number is growing every day, an effort to salvage whatever can be. Research helps, but in order to survive the tiger/leopard urgently need solutions that mitigate man animal conflicts, prevent intrusion in natural lands, poaching, wood logging and more.These animals are vital to forest ecosystems and environment as whole.  

Unfortunately all solutions are visualized through human angle. Sometimes the middle path does not work and as very little is left now. Those at helm should resort to strong conservation measures and not dilly dally.  Justice and proper compensation to those relocated, penal action against those involved in wildlife crimes and keeping industry to lost denuded lands far away are the right steps. 

Involvement of people who can voice for the voiceless is the need of the hour. The big cats are not just for tiger safaris or photo shoots though this helps. People should contribute in whatever way they can? Raise awareness, act as voice for the voiceless perhaps.       

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jim Corbett the invincible hunter

I have read most of the hunting episodes of Jim Corbett the legendary hunter and conservationist. I have been much impressed by his word by word account of innumerable hunts. He gained reputation as a valiant hunter of man eating tigers in Northern India at Uttaranchal that was once part of Uttar Pradesh.  

He  was born at Naini Tal in 1875 and rose on to become a colonel in the British Army.  Being an ace marksmen he was frequently called by the then United Provinces Government to shoot man eating tigers that had created havoc in the hills of Nainital and elsewhere. 

The incidents happened mostly in the districts of Kumaon and Garhwal. His popularity rose with each success and he soon became famous among the villagers as Carpet Shahib. It was his fascination for forest life that turned him into a hunter. Late in life he shot only man eating tigers and leopards and game for food. 

He shot around thirty three man eating leopards and tigers during his life time. Jim was fascinated by jungle life and its denizens. He also loved the rustic populace whom he saved from tormenting scourge of man eaters.  The small museum at Choti Haldwani stands testimony to life and times of the hunter turned conservationist. 

Some of his accounts slaying man eating cats are published in the following books.

Panar Leopard
Leopard of Rudraprayag
Champavat Tiger
Chowgarh Tigress
Temple Tiger 
Man eaters of Kumaon 
Bachelor of Powelgarh

Corbett warned about the dwindling numbers of big cats in India and turned into a conservationist. He also took to wildlife photography and filmed the magnificent cats using his camera.    

The Corbett National Park & Tiger Reserve is named after him.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It is not only tigers

Love for nature should be all encompassing as my friend Jagat Flora has expressed through his images marvelously captured using a small camera.

Jungle Prinia

Ashy Crowned Sparrow Lark

Chequered Beetle

Common Castor

Common Evening Brown

Common Sailor

Plain Tiger
Love and respect for all life forms and their conservation is a wise man's task. Insects and birds microbes...all constitute the Earth and play a vital role in making it liveable. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It is Now or Never

Tigress & Cub Mr. Navneet Maheshwari
Chimta Camp Kanha National Park MP India

This tigress with cub was captured in camera by Mr. Navneet Maheshwari the owner of Kanha Village Eco Resort. The property is luxurious, built using guide lines of responsible tourism. The lens man is committed to nature conservation, and is an acclaimed wildlife photographer.     

The subject matter though elates is also a grim reminder of the fate of this extremely majestic animal that sits at the top of the food chain and is an indicator species. The terminology denotes a vital element, and does indicate the impact of constructive or destructive activities in an ecosystem. The tiger's absence from tropical forests in India is suggestive of a badly fragment ecosystem with no beneficial effect on our environment.  No rivers, no food, no water ...mother Earth without a womb. 

We have to come to understand the correlation between natural lands their vital elements and myriad life forms that play major roles to preserve our environment. This complex web of linked elements as whole are crucial to our environmental stability. When we understand this, the tiger's role on Earth becomes evident. 

Nature conservation is not an elite prerogative as many people believe, nor is love for mega fauna a fad. Nature conservation is a serious dedicated effort in order to leave a beautiful healthy and stable environment for our generations to come. Unfortunately short term goals and pecuniary greed negates all positive steps and  sacrifices humanity  has to make in order preserve whatever is left. Making amends for the continuous destruction the human society is causing today, seems an impossibility almost chimerical. But we can preserve the fragments of natural lands which are still alive, which means saving this apex creature.      

The image of mother and cub accords human touch and sensitivity. The tigress rears her cubs just as humans do with kindness and caring love. The growth is signified with intuitive development augured by the  dedicated instinctive learning process at the behest of the mother. By examples and trials. Yes just like we do for our children to survive in this rat race. The natural world is more disciplined with very little instance of aberration, yet survival instincts are ingrained and impregnated for the cubs to survive in a terrain full of natural enemies.  The limiting factors that justify the survival of the fittest.     

Will the posterity capture such images there is a big question? Only the voice for voiceless will help those beleaguered but with the right to own the Earth as much as we do.  Live and Let Live.