During my childhood, my father was working in the irrigation department in Madhya Pradesh, India. He was mostly posted near the town Jabalpur. The Kanha National Park located near Jabalpur, is the habitat of tigers.
My father loved tigers to the extent he kept them as pets. He had once seen a dying tigress with two cubs while driving through the forest. He got the cubs home and raised them for six months. One day when he came back from work, the two cubs were very excited and greeted him like pet dogs. They raised themselves to their full height by putting their paws on my dad’s chest and licked his face. Since the cubs had grown, in the excitement his shirt got torn and he had scratches on his chest. On the advice of forest officials and their help, dad was able to leave them back in the forest. Although this incident occurred before my birth, the way he talked about them I could always see that he missed them.
When I was a little kid, I would once in a while see a tiger crossing the road when dad drove through the forest. They are well mannered if you stop the jeep at a distance. They give a solemn nod, cross the road and then again look back as if saying thank you. Not like dogs, they chase the jeep and bark their head off. As a seven year old, I had only one grouse to settle with the tigers. I would give flying kisses and big friendly smiles from the jeep, but they never reciprocated. Not even once.
Now tigers are near extinction, there are only 1400 ((plus un-censured tigers in the Sundarbans forest) left in India as of August 2010. I can’t imagine a world without them, as most of my childhood I viewed them as friendly neighbors. The cubs look really adorable, just watch this clipping and see for yourself.
The status of tigers absolutely upsets me. Project Tiger was commenced in 1972 when a census was done and it showed that there were only 1827 tigers alive. Under Project Tiger there are 27 wildlife reserves in India covering an area of 37,761 Km. During 38 years of operations of the project, the number of tigers have decreased.
Eleven adult tigers and two tiger cubs have been killed in 2010 itself. The causes of death are human-tiger conflict, poisoning and outright poaching. The human-tiger conflict is resulting as humans have moved into tiger habitats and sometimes tigers hunt the villager’s cattle. The poaching is occurring for tiger parts for medicinal purposes and fur.
This is downright cruelty to the animals. Are humans incapable of showing generosity to let the tigers live in peace? Are we incapable of looking good without tiger fur and healthy without their body parts? Can’t we keep ourselves entertained and amused without hunting these poor animals?
Please volunteer to build awareness regarding protection and safety of tigers. We need to give them some tender loving care to ensure our next generation can see their magnificence.