of 'Kaziranga Inheritance'
11th April 2005
You are probably all
aware of the renewed tiger poaching crisis that has
hit India. It was triggered a couple of months ago by
the discovery that there were no tigers left in Sariska
Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan, and that there was a drastic
decline in tiger numbers in Ranthambhore, Panna, and
a number of other important tiger habitats. These facts
have not come as a huge surprise to WPSI, but it has
definitely succeeded in shaking up the complacency -
and in some cases, the complicity - of the authorities.
The good news is that the Prime Minister of India,
Dr Manmohan Singh, has personally promised to take action
- and that the crisis is being widely and effectively
covered by the national and international media.
Several of us had the privilege to be present at the
release of Ranjit Barthakur and Bittu Sahgal's wonderful
book on Kaziranga by the Prime Minister of India, Dr
Manmohan Singh, at his residence on Friday, 8 April.
The Prime Minister gave an inspiring address where he
talked about his government's commitment to solve the
present tiger crisis. "I am deeply concerned about
what is happening in our forests," he said. "Reports
of the decline in the tiger population have once again
alerted us to this grim reality. I had sought a CBI
enquiry into this and our government will take all the
required steps to protect the tiger and other endangered
species. Man and animals have equal rights in living
in harmony with nature".
Such a statement is music to our ears - the one thing
that has been lacking in the last few years is political
support for the battle to save tigers.
I must apologise for the lack of email messages recently
to our friends and supporters. My colleagues and I at
WPSI have been worked off our feet in the last few weeks,
collecting and analysing information and generally trying
to help curb the large-scale poaching that has been
taking place. I have also been made a member, along
with tiger conservationist Valmik Thapar, of a very
active six member Empowered Committee that has been
set up by the Rajasthan Government to look into the
problems faced by Sariska, Ranthambhore and Bharatpur.
On a personal note last Friday I was presented with
the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award 2005, for
"excellent in her campaign to save wild tigers".
It was a great honour, particularly in these difficult
times, and a marvellous tribute to all my colleagues
With best wishes,