TIGERS, ‘becoming extinct’……..

somdeep Mitra

 

Travel Dreams Archive 13 June 2013

TIGERS, ‘becoming extinct’……..

People of India, traditionally, were always curious and excited about tigers starting from the Sindh civilization. Lord Shiva was being greeted with tiger’s skin on his body; in most part of the country it’s believed that the tiger himself is the chariot of Maa Durga, etc… Tiger is seemed to be India’s national animal. Apart from India tiger is printed in the currency notes of Bangladesh and also in Pakistan’s political parties and in several other examples.

On the basis of scientific evidences tigers in India came 12000 years ago. Proofs from the forest department stated that there were more than 40000 tigers in India before the 21rst century. But the addictions of hunting of the kings accompanied by the British rule and the process of industrialization have lessened the figure to 1827.

In 1972, the Stockholm conference brought changes in the wildlife system in which one of the speeches was presented by our Prime Minister Mrs. Gandhi after which she started the Wildlife Act. In the very next year, 1973 started the Project Tiger, a step taken to save the precious tigers of our country. At the beginning the project was started with 9 National Parks and today the number increased to more than 60.

The reason behind the tiger project was mainly to keep the tigers and the other wild animals safe and also to utilize the forest resources in the best possible manner. The forest and the wildlife are being divided into two major parts. One is the core area where the activities of the tigers and the other wild animals are maximum and the other is the buffer area which surrounds the core area and is used by the forest department and the local people for their living. It’s also used by the tourists’ when they visit the jungle without disturbing the core area.

As per the name of the project is concerned, the major intention for a temporary period was only to keep the tigers safe and alive. By bringing tigers one after another will not keep them safe! For their survival wild animals such as pigs, rabbits, etc, are required in the jungle so that they can hunt their own food and to do so the whole jungle or the wildlife should be maintained in the same way. The total wildlife is dependent upon themselves for their living including the trees and bushes. So to accomplish the tiger project one will have to maintain the entire wildlife environment. That’s why in ecological terms tiger is known as the Umbrella Species.

The project started in 1973 and after 40 years the existence of tigers in India is still being questioned by the media. The counting reduced to 1700 in the year 2010 though it was 1411 in the year 2008. If this continues then it will take maximum 100 years for the tigers to become extinct just like the leopard and the pink headed duck.

We, the people of India never took it seriously that why after trying for 40 years tigers are still becoming extinct and our researches are going in vain. Many people will present different explanations but will be afraid of facing the truth. The failure of the tiger project till now not only signifies our incapability but also involves politics, which made a part of the government corrupted.

In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the jungles of Sariska and Panna respectively tigers no longer exist. The jungle of Kanha is famous for its tigers. But it was very surprising and irritating when we saw dozens of jeeps and its tourists excited about something along a water body. There was a tigress with two kids trying to take some rest but was being disturbed by the humble tourists. All the Tiger reserves & National Parks in India experience same evident. These few dense forests were chosen to keep the tigers safe and in peace but the craze of the tourists have disturbed the process.

There are several reasons which lead to the reduction of the tigers in India. The tiger are facing onslaught of poaching throughout its range. Tigers were killed to meet the demand for their bones and other parts. These are used in the production of traditional medicine which is sold in the markets of China, Taiwan, and Korea, and even exported to the USA and Europe.

Deforestation, fragmentation and degradation of forests have been major factors in the decline of the tiger population in this century, with illegal killing playing an increasingly damaging role as tigers have become more vulnerable: no refugees remain safe from human penetration. Habitat loss remains a grave danger for the tiger, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. In countries like India where there is a human population problem, people are always looking for more room which infringes on the tiger habitat. If these trends continue, despite many laws and conservation efforts, the wild tiger may soon be doomed to extinction.

 

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