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Release 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 at WPSI.

With best wishes,

Belinda

 

 

 

 

 

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