Tigers: Resigned to Fate

The ultimate feline beauty praised as the national animal of India, is a sight to behold in the wilderness of the Indian subcontinent. This majestic animal is famous for its agility, strength, grace and power. But just like the most famous elements of Indian culture and heritage, this animal has had its fair share of exploitation. The exploitation has had an effect of chain reaction starting with innumerable futile measures like ‘The Project Tiger’, ‘Wildlife protection Act’, ‘tiger census’ and many more. These projects miserably failed to achieve their objectives due to loose morals, stingy investment and ignorance.
The body parts of tigers are in great demand in the Chinese medicine market, which are ready to cough up exorbitant amounts to lay their hands on them. With such irresistible and easy income sources the public and people of India both are enticed to offer their direct and indirect support to the poachers. The sorry state of the Indian tribes aggravates their involvement in order to earn some really meagre money who are unaware of the jackpot prices they fetch in the international market. The indiscriminate development of townships has also contributed to the panic among these animals and they have started invading residential and commercial areas. For instance there were shocking incidents of tigers being found at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai  scaring the people around there. Such incidents also lead to the animal being beaten to death by the locals.
The tiger census carried out by the wildlife authorities with much fanfare, has been accused of providing inflated data to veil the scary truth about this species’ hopeless struggle for survival. Even with all the truth intact, the census fails because of inefficient and outdated methods and tools used for the purpose. Forest guards are ill equipped and too old for even a brisk walk around the forest. Forest guards fall short of the expertise exhibited by the poachers and are no match to their automatic weapons. The state of these guards turns out to be more outrageous than expected when light is shed on the fact that, there had been no active recruitments since decades. This dismal situation raises many questions on the future of tigers, which is solely entrusted with such personnel.
According to the estimates, only 3200 tigers are left all over the world about half of which are present in India. So, India is carrying a huge socio-cultural responsibility on its shoulders to revive the fate of tigers. The government and public have to be united in this fight to save this species. The public response to the recent ‘Save the Tiger’ campaign was palpable which was sponsored by Aircel India and spearheaded by the bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassodor. But the tribals have to be reached and imparted the message most importantly as finally it comes down to them to be a part of the resurrection of this troubled animal. Its our responsibility to make sure that our future generations are not deprived of the pleasure to visually appreciate the famous lines from William Blake’s poem:
TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night.
B. Krithiga