Thursday, February 11, 2010


So you want to save the tiger? You’ve seen the Save Our Tigers campaign and that cute little tiger cub, all scared and lonely in the big bad world, waiting for a mother who’ll never return. Your heart goes out to that cub… you want to cradle it in your arms, and protect it from all the evil in the world. So what do you do? You go on Facebook and post a comment. Something inane like “We must save tigers… little cub’s cho chweet. Spread the message….” or something shockingly stupid like “I’d do anything for the tiger and this is the best way”.

Other well meaning fools, nearly 100,000 strong and counting, have gone on to Aircel’s campaign website and ‘joined the roar’. Forgive me folks, I know you are well-intentioned people but what good is your name on a tiger’s picture that says ‘you’re roaring for the tiger’ for a tigress roaring in agony in the forest. Her bleeding paw is caught in a steel-jawed trap. Footsteps hurry towards her. They don’t bode well. She tries to shake her paw free but the steel-jaws bite deeper. She struggles some more. In desperation, she gnaws through her trapped front paw… her anguished roars seem to draw blood from the hills that surround her. But alas, it’s too late... The poachers, bedraggled men with a hungry look in their eyes surround her and spear her with crude lances… she turns around to fight, snarling and swiping with her free paw, but in vain. Her strength ebbs… the roaring shudders to a muffled groan and a once magnify cent beast is reduced to a lacerated lifeless body. Her beautiful skin is cut open by the men, its organs and bones removed with an efficiency that tells you that these men have done this earlier… and will do it again.

What’ll stop them? Your Facebook posts? And what good is your post for that starving cub, pining for the tigress’ return until it is too weak to breathe. Far too emaciated now to look ‘chweet’, its dull skin clings to the bones. Those baby eyes no longer look upon the world with wonder for the light’s gone out of them. Soon, it too will be food for worms, yet another statistic that should tell you that mere words don’t matter. They can’t feed nor protect tigers. Somewhere right now, as you read this, a tiger lies dying. The pen might’ve been mightier than the sword, but what good is it against hunger and greed, against poverty and stupidity, against corruption and insecurity?

Let me break the problem down for you…
One post said “We must stop buying tiger products and the killing would stop too”. Now, who do you know who buys tiger products? No one! The market for tiger parts is China, where limp egos hope to find a peg to hang their insecurities on by borrowing a tiger’s virility. So they drink tiger-penis soup and use its bones for its perceived medicinal properties, though there isn’t a shred of scientific c evidence to support it. But sexual insecurity is perhaps the world’s greatest motivator (Hitler, it’s rumoured, had only one testicle) and many Chinese are willing to pay huge sums for a piece of the tiger. This demand triggers the network which, through vile middlemen, reaches the poor tribal whose desperate poverty makes a poacher out of him.

Here’s what to we can do…
1. Reach out to the Chinese. Share our perspective and help them understand that tiger parts won’t ‘give them a lift ’. There’s a growing movement amongst Chinese TCM practitioners who’re offering vegetarian alternatives while wildlife activists are spreading awareness about tiger conservation. Partner them in their mission and spread the message across China, without irresponsible jingoism, and appeal to a neighbour’s better judgement, pledging help and seeking empathy. And Aircel, your charming campaign’s tugging at the wrong hearts, but the right customers. Question is, what’ll you do about it?

2. Lobby and urge the government to recruit forest guards from local communities and fill up vacancies. Positions have remained vacant for nearly two decades. These units are understaffed, under paid, untrained and too old to be any good in the
field. Start a fund to pay and train them or donate to an NGO that does.

3. Lastly, urge companies that benefit from eco-tourism, and receive your business (hotels, travel companies etc.) to employ people from local forest communities and start welfare initiatives within the community. It’s in their best interests to share the spoils for it is an investment, for when the tiger disappears, so would their businesses. Also, through employment etc., the communities will realise that the tiger’s worth more alive than dead, and therefore involve themselves in the conservation process, becoming informants, guardians and willing partners in arms against poaching.

If you want to save the tiger, only this will help and little else would… You can make a difference, but whether you want to make a difference and roar for the tiger or for a mobile service company is up to you.


1 comment:

  1. sir, we the common people have a certain barrier which we tend not to cross. we are safe and comfortable so long we are on the inner circle. thus blogging and texting seems an easier way to console our conscience which pricks us day in and day out about a life only tugged in levis jeans. leave alone tiger conservation, we do not ask sincerely the well fare of our neighbors. events of terrorism, inhuman rapes, abuses, murders are so common place that any news pertaining to them is almost like the daily soaps to us. thing is that sir, we, have lost our humanity entirely and we have been reduced to no more than fearful eunuchs, all of us. and now, whatever good is left to happen in this world, depends solely on a few rare, but still present, courageous men and women. its almost entirely up to them whether the tigers will live or die. for the more influential of us, well, we are creating 'social awareness' adds, aren't we? its not only sad sir, its hilarious! its like the preachers who teaches religion to the hungry instead of feeding them.
    though it may seem i am a sadist, that i am not. its plain fact whatever i mentioned. and i don't condemn anyone sir, trust me. no, not a single soul, but just one - ME! and that is precisely because i am commenting on your blog right now instead of acting as you suggested. god!! just wish it is the humans instead of the tigers that becomes extinct. the world would be such a more better place to live in then!!!