Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened ~ Anatole France
I have always been fascinated by the Indian Tiger right from my childhood days. That’s because I come from a family of foresters. Jungle lore kept me thrilled and I would even skip school to accompany by father (an I.A.S. officer) on his official tours to villages located in the deep interiors of forests.
In all the wild animals that we ever saw in the wild the tiger was by far the most magnificent. One had to be really lucky to site one. I knew all about pugmarks, tracks and water holes to wait. On rare occasions when I did sight a Tiger in the jungles I was transfixed by his sheer magnetism and raw power. But alas! Once I grew up and joined college my jungle days were over as the city life took over.
But a few years ago on a jungle trip we were delighted to actually spot a tiger in the thick forests of Kanha a famous forest reserve in the state of MP. I was well armed – my trusted Canon AE1. 🙂 I could make out he was on high alert yet seemed blissfully undisturbed telling us to keep a respectable and safe distance.
Nature has provided the Tiger with a coat which acts as a beautiful camouflage which allows him to pass by unnoticed even from near. This Tiger could easily measure about 8 to 9 feet and weigh about 250 kg. I wonder if you can see his fierce glowing eyes 😦
“Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes?” ~ Theophile Gautier
Save Our Tiger Campaigns
India is home to half of the world’s rapidly dwindling wild tiger population. The Indian government is running a campaign to save the tigers, as according to reports, there are only 1,411 left in the country, from an estimated 40,000 animals in 1947.
The biggest reason for the decline in numbers is an age-old problem – poaching. These days the criminals involved in the wildlife trade are very sophisticated organized gangs. Last year was a good year for India in their fight against tiger poaching. 2011 saw one of the lowest levels of poaching for a very long time. Just 13 tigers were poached or seized during the entire year. Hope in 2012 the illegal trade in wild animals reduces significantly.
The illegal trade in wildlife as a whole has grown to an estimated $10 billion a year. The big cat is revered, admired and feared in equal parts, by millions of people around the world. If forests are emptied of every last tiger, all that will remain are distant legends, zoo sightings, and one massive breach of trust.
Can we really say we loved everything about the tiger, except its existence?