Tigers in Wildlife
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 10 Apr 2023
There was a time about 80 or 70 years earlier when influential people of India — business people or rich farmers or military officers would display in their homes, the head of a tiger or lion that presumably they had killed with their guns and bullets in a forest.
Those days are gone now. It does not mean that all tigers have been eliminated in the country; it only indicates that this type of killing with rifles or guns is not allowed legally although some illegal killing does occur in the country.
Today we need to go to large zoos in a few large Indian towns — Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore etc to see these big cats — some sitting morosely in their dens, some grovelling ferociously at the zoo visitors standing outside their dens.
These big cats may be tigers or lions or cheetahs. Any of the animals of these species look majestic and unforgettable. Additions also take place — In fact once in a while, we read in the newspapers or see on TV sets that India is bringing in the country some cheetahs from some African country.
Without differentiating between these three species of big cats, I shall write some brief facts of tigers in India. India has the largest number of tigers in the world — estimates suggest that there are about 4500 of these cats in India. There could be more but there is some poaching of tigers that limits the number in our country. There is illegal wildlife trade of these animals or their parts, as well as destroying or reducing their habitats.
Their number depends on the nature of their habitat. If not proper, their number would reduce. Our neighbouring country Pakistan has no tigers left due to absence of necessary conditions and absence of punishment when some number of these cats were seen and were subject to misbehaviour.
The Supreme Court of India has recommended withdrawal of guidelines for permitting tiger zoos or tiger safaris in tiger habitats in forests or wildlife areas. The Court has also disapproved setting up of tourist facilities to see tigers in tiger reserves in the wildlife.
With these restrictions and other proactive steps taken by the government agencies, the number of tigers would not go down. Tigers are mostly found in some special parks created for them in some remote parts of India — Jim Corbett National Park or Kanha Tiger Reserve.
Most people would like to see tigers and lions moving freely in jungles and forests. One effective method adopted for this purpose is to contain tourists in mobile metal cages so that tigers are not able to harm the tourists who can enjoy the sights of these wild cats moving around in wildlife. So let the cats move around freely and tourists be confined in metal cages.
This reverse process of freedom for tigers is innovative and effective without hurting tourists in any way.
Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi. email@example.com
Tags: Animal cruelty, Animal rights, Animals
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 10 Apr 2023.
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