A country so diverse, it forgets sometimes how diverse it really is – that is the beauty of modern-day India, subconsciously. The daily race for survival amongst the cut-throat competition is very real. Life, guided by the culture and natural ecosystems which precede it – Billions of years of work of Natural forces has resulted in what has shaped life in this Geographical microcosm called India.
The natural order of things has seen the Rise of Man in a bid to control his external surroundings, what has suffered is Nature and the Animals that go along with it. The bout between Man and Tiger has been a long and drawn-out affair, with Man seemingly coming out on top. However, part of Man’s conscience has realized that without it, it too cannot survive physically or spiritually.
Occasionally, however, the boundaries are overstepped accidentally or systematically – systematically by vested interests that aim to use the earth’s last remaining natural heritage areas for single-minded financial gain or “growth”.
Over time, as Humankind has assimilated and organized itself, it has pushed wildlife and various ecosystems to the point of no return. Self-defence, the cruel act of Sport Hunting and Poaching and finally the economic aims of the developed world has pushed the wildlife population to dangerously low levels.
The royal animal that is the Tiger, somehow survives to this day, battle-scarred and weary of humans despite its superiority in strength and its sensory abilities. Their survival though miraculous, their growth has occurred at the behest of a man with a mammoth, structured plan.
As it stands, the shape of the planet’s internal matters lies in the hands of human-kind and that the responsibility of the fate of all life forms rests with people.
The mammoth task has culminated in the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 in India and Project Tiger in India in 1973.
The Tiger is recognized as being the apex predator in the wildlife landscape of India, found in virtually every state in India save for Jammu and Kashmir – and protecting it by law, protects the jungle and thus its remaining denizens from being wiped out.
Why Save the Tiger?
Tigers require large forest tracts, with each Male Tiger occupying anywhere between 30 – 150 sq.km of the forest as its home range. Currently 3% of India’s landmass is natural, protected forest – and these act as carbon sinks to a highly populated and rapidly industrialized country. 100’s of thousands of tonnes of carbon per year are absorbed by the vegetation of these areas, keeping in check the pollution while also ensuring enough precipitation via seasonal monsoon rains which are the life-givers of India.
India has about 200 rivers which are elementary to survival in the country. Several of them originate or pass through India’s 50 Tiger Reserves – thus protection of this incredibly important tract of land, is key to keeping India’s Freshwater supplies and all the benefits that come with us : sediments for crops, fish and controlled flow to prevent flooding and erosion.
The Tiger, along with the other large predators such as the Leopard and Wild Dog, keeps the population of herbivores in check. There is a chance of overgrazing within the forest, and resultant of that, raiding of crops in nearby farms which can be an irrecoverable loss to the farmer.
The laws which protect India’s Tiger Reserves, protect the other species like an umbrella – thus encapsulating all-important species and habitats within the Reserve. The task force, scientific research, habitat protection and community development initiatives help keep more alive than just the Tiger.
Wildlife Tourism in areas provides employment, awareness to the larger public and exposure to locals when it comes to this enterprise. It also comes with public funding that helps generate employment in direct relation with the Park Management. It also helps mitigate human-animal conflict that is a result of growing wildlife populations, as the ultimate conflict is played out with the locals of the area and the wildlife.