A colleague, who recently went to Bandhavgarh (ref the picture) which hosts a tiger reserve , asked me why I didn’t write about wildlife and the diminishing numbers of tigers across the country. To be honest, while I enjoy going on excursions and spotting animals in the wild, I am no expert on tigers. But, I also know that one does not have to be an expert on the subject to realise that this magnificent animal is a diminishing breed.

When we went to Dandeli last May, the forest officers told us that there were just a dozen tigers and elephants left in the jungles there – and it’s called the Dandeli-Ambika Nagar Tiger Sanctuary! Why? Because Veerappan and his goons, killed most of them. Veerappan is dead and gone, but tigers continue to be killed. When most State governments are more concerned about their own survival, why would they care about the tiger’s?

The fact is that you and I can’t do much to save the tiger. One can give up everything and move into the jungle to protect them from poachers. But how many of us will be willing to do that? Which brings us to the people whose job it is to protect the tiger – the government .

How concerned they are about saving the tiger and other form of wldlife can be seen from the fact that anyone ( that includes poachers, film stars and ministers) can just drive into a forest reserve and gun down wild animals. And the government will make the right noises and forget about it. You can have all the inquiries and court cases, but it’s still one tiger less in this country.

When we went to Dandeli we saw very few forest guards inside the sanctuary. Mind you, the entire forest is almost 500 sq km so to protect it would take a sizeable number of personnel. Would any state government be interested in hiring more people to do that?

Just click here and you’ll see that the last time the site of the Wildlife Institute of India was updated was in 2006! The tiger population then was 3642. The Wildlife Protection Society of India’s website states that as of February 12, 2008, the tiger population is 1,411.

Does the government care? The figures above tell us quite clearly, how much it does!

  1. Zubin Kabraji says:

    Forget it Mohan.Be reconciled to the fact that our great grandchildren (that is if we have any, will not see a live tiger !And once the tigers are gone, so also hopefully will be the poachers – unless ofcourse they find something else to poach – which is also quite likely considering the gutless stand of our Government in these matters.In a country that cannot feed, clothe and shelter its human beings do you really think anyone cares for tigers, leopards, panthers and lions ?Time to wake up and smell the coffee !

  2. Shweta says:

    Hello Sir,'In a country that cannot feed, clothe and shelter its human beings do you really think anyone cares for tigers, leopards, panthers and lions ?' I agree with this completely. The fact is, we (masses and the government) is primarily selfish in the negative sense. Until and unless something affects us directly, we don't care about it. There are very few people who are actually willing to take charge, but as I said, they are very few. It's a sad thing, but for now I can't see the scenario changing. I hope it does change before it's just too late.

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