Crowd Sourcing Tiger Conservation- Save Our Tigers
First a good news: The total number of tigers has increased in India from 1,706 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014. This is a healthy 30 % increase. While this is a matter of joy it also brings more responsibility on both the government and people as increased tiger population in a scenario when the habitat is decreasing puts pressure on the current tiger reserves , so we need more tiger reserves. One of the foremost point of tiger conservation is that when you save a tiger you automatically save 100s of other species of other flora and fauna in the tiger habitat. So tiger conservation is not just about tigers it is about the ecosystem and our planet itself.
So with this increase in Tiger population we all need to also contribute in saving our tiger habitat and actually wherever possible add to the same.
But normally the question that I am asked is how we as common people can contribute to the same?
I think all of us have a role to play in tiger conservation and I will give some very simple things that all of us can do
- Do Not Buy Tiger or any other Wildlife Products: This is something very simple and all of us can say no consciously to not buy not just any tiger product but any wildlife product that we are offered. While tiger meat is not consumed in India like in China, but a lot of our folks believe in wearing tiger nails, tiger hair and tiger tooth thinking this will make them brave or save them from evil eye. This is pure nonsense and superstition. Do NOT believe in it and if you do find anybody selling any tiger or other animal product immediately inform the local authorities.
- Be A responsible Tiger Tourist: Wild animals have no idea what we humans are up to, and when we enter their habitat that is Tiger Reserves like Tadoba, Pench, Bandipur, Ranthambore, Satpura etc. it is our duty to make sure we are responsible tourists and do not destroy the habitat. Even simple things like leaving a plastic bottle can harm the nature and disturb the ecological balance in the area. One plastic bottle may be a small thing, but a 1000 tourist each leaving a bottle or plastic wrapper will soon choke the small streams in the jungle and the herbivores may die by consuming the polythene bags. Also please do not try to get close to wild animals specially tigers, watch them from a respectable distance from your Safari Jeep.
- Encourage Kids to learn about Tigers: Kids are the future of this nation and we have inherited this earth from them. There are a hundred ways you can encourage kids to learn about Tigers and understand the importance of the tigers in the nature. I was very impressed when I interacted with students of Modern School in a program conducted by Aircel on the occasion of World Tiger Day. These kids not only understood the importance of Tigers in our nature, but were also encouraging their family members to understand the same. I would strongly recommend you take your kids to a Tiger Reserve so that they can see the tigers in their natural habitat and become ambassadors of Tigers in the world outside
- Save Natural Resources for Tigers: One of the reasons for destruction of Tiger habitat is our insatiable demand for natural resources like coal, wood, minerals, water etc. Unfortunately these resources occur in most tiger habitats and with each lorry of coal coming to city, each tree being cut there is less space for tigers. So if each one of us just switches off the light, take bath with just a bucket of water, recycle the stuff we use, slowly but surely the pressure on natural resources will cut, giving some breathing space to tigers.
- Buy products from People living near Tiger Reserves: Many a tiger reserves are surrounded by hundreds of villages. Many of these villagers lost their land and source of income when they were relocated to new places from inside of the tiger reserve. Many NGOs, government bodies and companies like Aircel are working towards creating open communication with these local villagers. One of the grudge the displaced locals have is loss of livelihood and insufficient compensation to them. Some of these local men are now employed in Tiger reserves as forest guards others are now trained naturalists that you should hire as guide when entering the Tiger reserve. Many other local men and women have been trained in producing local handicrafts, textiles etc. from sustainable local resources. When you are visiting these areas, I urge you to buy these local products like tiger paintings, tiger toys, local textiles, handicrafts, the money from these products directly go to the local communities and help them generate income. This makes them understand that Tiger reserve in the long run is good for them as it is generating long term sustainable and scalable income for them.
- Say Thank to the Celebrities for supporting Tiger conservation: Like I mentioned in my post about Aircel Save our tigers campaign (#AircelSaveOurTigers), celebrities like Dia Mirza, Kailash Kher are supporting the cause of save tigers. They actively participate in Tiger events, give message about same and amplify the message on their social media following. Every now and then I like to send them a thank you tweet or email so that they know their message is being heard and acted upon. I think it is a two-way street, we always cheer for our stars so why not cheer for them when they are supporting a noble cause. So go ahead and tweet to Dia Mirza and Kailash Kher so that they know that you know that they are doing a good job and their efforts are recognized and appreciated.
— Prasad Np (@desiTraveler) July 29, 2015
- Write to your MP, MLA, Environment Minister and urge them to increase tiger reserves: Our elected members of local bodies and parliament are busy with a lot of things and not all have tiger conservation as their primary agenda. But remember politicians do what the people want, for people vote for them So find out who your member of parliament and local MLA is and write an email to them ( you can send my blog post to them and quote me if you want. Also write an email to the current Environment, Forest & Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar, and urge him to increase the number of Tiger reserves in the country. You can message him using this form or email him here: firstname.lastname@example.org , or contact him on twitter
- Become a Eco Volunteer for Tiger Conservation: If you are serious about Tiger Conservation and want to do something more than the above mentioned seven point then you should consider becoming a Eco Volunteer for tiger conservation. While there are many institutes that you can join to become an Eco-Volunteer for tiger and other wildlife conservation. I can guide you to Eco Volunteer Training Program by Karnataka Forest department that I have personally attended and can vouch for. It is an intensive training program with both classroom and field training with forest guards, and once your training is over you become a certified eco-volunteer. The beauty of the program is that it goes beyond lip service, the forest department regularly calls the certified volunteers and seek their help in various initiatives like Tiger Census, trap removal, crowd control during festival time at shrines located in tiger reserves, fire control etc.
- Download the Tigoji App: Well if you have not, then you can download the Tigoji app from Aircel, it has cool tiger stickers that you can share with your friends and family and Aircel is contributing one Rupee for every download as part of their continuing #AircelSaveOurTigers campaigns. Read more about the Tigoji App here on how it is helping in tiger conservation.
- Amplify the message: This one is the most simple thing that you can do to spread the message about Tiger Conservation. We all share countless jokes, videos and food pictures with our friends on twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp, why not share message about Tiger Conservation in your social circle. Remember the first step is awareness and a conscious approach to contribute to tiger conservation. The more tweets, facebook status and blog updates go out there, more number of people will join the cause. So how about starting the same with sharing this very blog post ? Which I am writing for “ You Are The Power Of We”, campaign by Aircel as part of their continuing #AircelSaveOurTigers campaign and blogging contest. You too can take part in same and win a trip to a Tiger Reserve.
So dear reader these are my simple ideas that each one of us the average folks of this country can take further and help in spreading the message and action for Tiger conservation now it is your turn to share your ideas in the comments below. As they say “ A Single Roar from you can thunder among a million lives. So Go On, Roar Out Loud!
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