Adhocism in the policy matters has been a constant worrying factor in India. Be it population control, Aadhar Card, disinvestment or even defense-country’s stance has changed dramatically over the change of the political baton. This is a deep rooted problem and it has been the single largest contributing factor in segregating a developing nation from a developed nation. All said and done, it is a heartwarming fact that the conservation of the wild cat- India’s most prized animal possession in the world, has seen a tremendous growth over the last ten years despite the fact that there has been change of governance in the center over that period. India with a tiger population of 2226 as per the latest national survey of 2014 tops the list of the countries with this endangered species. This is a remarkable jump from the figure 1710 in 2010. The world population of the wild cat has also seen an increase of 22% over that period and it presently stands at 3890.
This can be viewed as a wonderful case study how much the good will of the government can do for the betterment of a nation, plagued by corruption, sectional interests and petty politics. Also, the positive role of the cooperation from the state governments, NGOs, local communities, conservationists and environmentalists alike cannot be ruled out. In the recent past, there has been constant surge in anti-poaching patrols. Forest guards or other officials showing laxity in their duties have been exemplarily punished. The officials with commendable work done in the field have been rewarded with lucrative incentives. There are plenty of schemes to provide compensation to the families suffering losses from Tiger or other wildlife attack. This has to an extent ensured decline in the retaliatory killings of the wild cats. India has also invested in sustainable tourism around tiger reserves, a model that seems to be working so well that officials are talking about expanding the reserve system. In popular tiger destinations like Bandhavgarh, Corbett, Kanha, Sundarbans, during peak season, it is difficult to get the tickets of tiger safari. The interest of the general people, coupled with good governance in saving the regal animal has done a tremendous job hitherto unseen since independence.
I fondly remember the commercial of a reputed telecom brand about a decade back with the skipper of the Indian cricket team appealing to the people to raise awareness about declining number of tigers in India and the means to conserve them. It made an instant impact upon the Indians. With the growth of Social media and increasing number of groups demonstrating wild life photography, the awareness about tiger conservation has suddenly seen a positive growth. Younger Indians have taken the leading role in generating popular awareness campaigns to save tigers through social networks.
Let’s not forget the dynamic role played by some of the wonderful individuals devoting their life for this cause. Subedar Ali who was once mauled by a tiger violently and now works in the Corbett National Park for anti-poaching measures is one such gem of a person who has made us belief saving tiger is not impossible. The tiger which tried to kill him was later sent to the Kanpur zoo. Mr.P.Surendran of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Mr.Ramesh Thapa of the neighboring country Nepal have also taken praiseworthy initiatives to augment the awareness about tiger conservation.
One of the finest things done by the World Wildlife Fund(WWF) in the recent past is a brilliant project named ‘Adopt a tiger’.Just imagine , you donate funds for a specific tiger and in return, you get the photos of the tiger growing along with an information card.You can even name the tiger.And the WWF will ensure that the money you donate goes in raring that tiger, to stop poaching of tigers and also for the betterment of the reserves meant for tigers.What a simple idea and yet so thought provoking, isn’t it? Very few people are aware of this project but we can very much take some time out of our social networking activities to spread this information.
Lastly, the success of the ‘Project Tiger’ as a part of the ‘Wildlife Protection Act 1972’ must be hailed for every achievement through the aforesaid means.The more we think seriously about the implications of this program, the less is our degree of mockery aimed at the Government.The initial lukewarm response it received has been combated with brilliant progress in the past decade.Let us not forgo the spirit.Let us not stop striving hard from saving this graceful animal.Who knows , we ,too can experience what Pie did in his life.Richard Parker may hold the key to our future, you never know.
As the data of 2018 Tiger Census is not available, only the available data of the 2014 Tiger Census has been used in this article.