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.