Sunday, May 15, 2005

Big cats and beyond

While we were away, the disappearance of tigers from India's wildlife sanctuaries received tremendous media attention. India Today carried the plight of the tiger as its cover story last week (they have a subscription-only website, so no links); Outlook did several stories; and the mainstream newspapers carried articles, investigations and op-eds. Here are some opinions:

"In order to survive, the tiger needs a larger constituency. Innovative ways to win friends can only come about if larger concerns are taken into consideration. The issue of its habitat, for instance, cannot be delinked from the fate of those who live in it.
The reworking of a conservation agenda that addresses both ecological and livelihood issues has never been an easy task in a country like India. But the larger crisis is also a moment of opportunity." Mahesh Rangarajan in The Telegraph.

"Tigers grab headlines while the rest of India's wildlife often get ignored. Elephants, mouse deer, pangolin, hornbills and hundreds of other rare species find refuge in our national parks. The disappearance of tigers at Sariska is a terrible tragedy but it is not an isolated incident, nor should it be the final curtain call for India's wildlife." Stephen Alter in Outlook.

"...the tragedy in Sariska is much larger than the frightening prospect of losing 18-odd magnificent creatures that (once?) prowled this reserve. It is really about the philosophy, the policy and the practice of conservation. The answer to Sariska - and to the many Sariskas, festering - will then be to change the basic premise of the way we approach wildlife. Otherwise the blood of Sariska's tigers will be on the hands of their official managers and their unofficial propagandists. Nobody else." Sunita Narain on And poachers killed an elephant near Lansdowne in the Uttaranchal Hills.

"Field investigators working for the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) have uncovered – particularly over the past three years – an incredible degree of sophistication among hardcore wildlife criminals. Large sums of money (in one case five lakh rupees, or about US$10,800) have been found on arrested criminals, along with mobile phones and small modern firearms." Belinda Wright in Sanctuary Asia.

Meanwhile, the snow leopard receives some attention with a new tracking study.
"US and Indian researchers plan to use the technology of Global Positioning System to find out more about the foraging routine and the social behaviour of the animal.'This is a very important study,' said A J T Johnsingh, an award-winning mamologist at the Wildlife Institute of India, who will be coordinating from the WII side. 'It's a very timid animal. They have a vast habitat, which we don't know about. So we also don't know what is happening to the animal,' he added."

And it's been a bad week for heffalumps. Appu, the elephant who represented the mascot at the Asian Games, has finally died--he had a terrible accident some years ago when he fell into a septic tank and fractured his legs, and his last years were spent in considerable pain. Meanwhile, poachers killed an elephant near Lansdowne in the Uttaranchal Hills.


Blogger nastasia said...

It is the shame of all Indian system... People kill rare tiger for a money,it is horrible.. and this happened before governments eyes..

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what is the proof of indian wild animals are protected and how can we get real data of animal availabity ?.....!

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