Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Only 1411 tigers left in India?

China has just passed laws related to the slaying of Tigers raising questions on how that is going to impact the life of tigers in India.

The advertisement on various channels on Indian Telivision urges viewers to spread the news via blog and other mediums so here I am with my bit. But the question I want to ask is, "Will this new 'Save the Tiger project' be another fiasco?" Who can forget the disasterous first. Called "Project Tiger" in the 80's it was implemented at a time when our tiger population was even bigger. It stands decimated now.

I remember it was the 80's then and India was enjoying the early colour televisions. I will never forget Naseeruddin Shah in his baritone voice saying "Bhaag Bhaag" a zillion times on that show every Sunday to emphasize how important it is for us Indians to save the tiger. The show seemed to say that saving the Tiger would even prevent India going into economic crisis as protecting Tigers would make us protect trees and forests and by protecting trees we prevent deforestation and one thing leading to another and finally India's economy. But the horrendous thing was that when Project Tiger was on the maximum number of Tigers were being killed. It was a disaster of a project and much time had been wasted before the people behind "Project Tiger" accepted that major flaws did occur. I must also mention it was the initiative of a few dedicated and fearless Indian reporters, wildlife lovers including one intrepid lady from outside India who exposed extensive poaching under the callousness of our authorities and that the project was majorly flawed. Right under the noses of those who were supposed to be safeguarding the tigers, hundreds and thousands were being killed. Entire populations vanished. Wish to know where to? The poachers were incidentally selling Tiger parts to our friendly, peaceful, Buddhist neighbour, Tibet. A huge chunk of the animal parts also went to China where there is a huge demand for the big cat's parts used in oriental medicine that they claim is the panacea for all human health problems.

Actual footage of a function in Tibet where hundreds of revellers are shown marching and celebrating wearing Tiger skin. The footage (now available on several YouTube and Internet videos) was secretly taped and this was shown in a recent documentary on a channel on T.V.

The videos below will show you portions of the festival in Tibet, oh yes, the violence-abhoring, Dalai Lama land, where men and women are seen in tiger skin draped around them.

In the following video check out how tiger skin is stacked like carpets in a shop. Many skins are also woven to make big carpets. The notorious Tibetian celebrations are included in this one too.

Going back to China, the irony is that The Chinese have 6000 tigers in captivity though some of their tiger species have become extinct too. Maybe India should start a breeding-in-captivity program or consider having one seriously. The Chinese have also succesfully engaged in a breeding-in-captivity program for the Panda which is almost in the brink of extinction. At the rate the tiger population is being decimated in India one might find a tiger only in captivity, not many years from now.

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