Monday, February 8, 2010

Save Our Tigers

When I got notifications informing me that six of my friends had joined a group called Stripey the Cub, I had to investigate. Stripey the Cub sounded like a cartoon character, and I couldn't believe there was a cartoon character that I was unaware of.

Turned out Stripey the Cub was a two-month old abandoned tiger cub, who had turned spokesperson for the Save our Tigers movement. At one time, tigers roamed freely in our national parks, today, it is estimated that no more than 1,411 tigers remain in the wild.

When I was a teenager, there used to be newspaper reports on entire villages in the Sundarbans populated by women and children widowed and orphaned by the Royal Bengal Tigers. We do seem to have got our revenge on them- when we spent a weekend in Siriska a few years back, we were told that not a single tiger remained in the national park. The tiger is a beautiful animal- something has to be done to Save our Tigers.

I joined up at the Save our Tigers website, but there doesn't seem to be very much anyone can do to save the animals. As long as there is a demand for products made from tigers, as long as the people paid to protect our tigers are in collusion with the poachers, as long as we indiscriminately encroach upon their habitat, they will continue to diminish in number.

Speak out, create awareness, join the movement - is what the website urges us to do. I am more than happy to do that. The tiger must be protected. The tiger must be saved.

But how?

Last week, there was an article in the paper on how two abandoned panther cubs had been found outside Bombay.
After hearing the story, my older one asked, "Where is their Mamma?"
"Their Mamma is missing."
"And what about their Papa?"
"They don't have a Papa."
"Their Papa is dead?"
"Do they live close by, or in some other country?"
"They live near Bombay."
"Then let us bring them here and keep them at home. If their Mamma is missing and their Papa is dead, they will be very sad. If we bring them here, they will be happy."

Maybe we should just leave it to the children to sort out the mess that their parents create. They have something we seem to have lost touch with- compassion.


Jan Morrison said...

On Feb.14th is both the Tibetan and Chinese New Year - this year it is the year of the tiger. Perhaps we can only do what we can do but do not despair - each of us must put our energy where our heart tells us to. I will join the society and talk to my friends about it on Sunday at our celebrations. Thank you for posting this - it is tremendously helpful!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, many animals may not be around in the wild when our chilren reach our age. The only place they can survive will be in zoos. Sad.

Stephen Tremp

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Jan - they are planning a march to generate awareness on Feb 14 (Chinese New Year). I have always been wary of inflicting my ideas (ideals ?) on the children, but I am thinking of taking them on Sunday. Maybe they can talk about the need for conservation in their school.
I just wonder if any of it would really lead anywhere - after all, there is little impact any of us can have on the fate of the tiger. All it takes is one greedy man for one proud animal to get reduced to a rug or a fur-coat.

@ Stephen - isn't that a really sad thought? But if you really think about it, animals in zoos is still better than animals only in photographs.


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