Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
These immortal words of William Blake come to my mind whenever I think of the Indian Tiger. Our national animal, our precious heritage, a magnificent creature of the wild is today facing oblivion.
Not very long ago, at the turn of the last century the Indian jungles were thickly punctuated by the roar of the tiger. Today these punctuation marks have become few and far between. From around 40,000 at the turn of the last century, there are just 1411 tigers left in India. The tiger which started as a victim of royal sport is now a target of poaching as well as its depleting habitat.
Our pride, our treasure is fighting for its life! From the fearless it has become the fearful from the fighter, the frightened, from the hunter, the hunted. Despite the government’s best efforts, the menace of poaching and hunting has not lessened. The government had launched the Tiger Protection Act which succeeded in protecting the tiger population to some extent. However, these steps are just not enough. In fact last year alone witnessed 86 Tiger deaths being reported. Out of the 37 Tiger sanctuaries in India 17 are on the verge of losing their Tiger population.
The time has come to make Project Tiger a nationwide movement. We all have to chip and help the government. Every little bit helps. We can speak up about the cause. We can write or blog about our tigers. Even staying up-to-date with tiger facts like knowledge of tiger sanctuaries, their population, news updates, etc. would make a difference. We can also donate money to NGOs working for the cause, like WWF-India. We can create groups on Facebook and Twitter and make people aware.
China is celebrating this year as the Year OF the Tiger. Can we Indians decide to join hands and observe 2010 as the Year FOR the Tiger? Let us take a pledge that we shall do everything possible to see that this beautiful creature of the wild will continue burning bright in the forests of the night.