"Just 1411 Tigers left in India"
India has the world's largest number of tigers in wild. Poaching (Hunting of Wild-Animals) is a very serious offence, but still it continues to be the case here in India. Our neighbor China is the largest illegal consumer of 'tiger-products' for medicinal purposes. Now you are smart enough to make a connection between poaching and illegal use.
Almost four-decades ago in 1973, a wildlife conservation movement was initiated know as "Project Tiger" (http://projecttiger.nic.in/index.asp) which aimed at tiger conservation in specially constituted tiger reserves throughout India. The sole responsibility of "Project Tiger" was to increase the number of tigers by building reserves around their natural habitat and thus providing them safety from concrete-madness. Now the big-question is 'did it work?'
The answer is Yes and No.
No, because there were reports that these reserve officials themselves got involved in some poaching cases. Yes, because, if not for these reserves we would have been looking at a figure of some hundreds left today. So 'in the bigger picture' Project Tiger is a success. But as usual our government failed to capitalize at the right moment, by not building attractive reserves which will attract tourists and some funds for wildlife conservation, making stringent laws for poaching any wildlife and so on...
The result is we are severely lacking good tiger reserves and infrastructure (ill-maintained park vehicles, irresponsible drivers and guides etc.). I have had a first hand experience of this on my last visit to "Melghat Tiger Reserve" which is government maintained. The basic rule of a Wild-life Reserve is you never throw rubbish or honk or get out of your vehicle inside the reserve area. This rule was blatantly broken by our driver and guide until he heard a mouthful from us, after which he got back to his senses.
As you all know (thanks to media), our current situation regarding tiger population is critical. How many times since last wildlife census have you heard "Just 1411 Tigers left in India"?, too many times right? and how many of you visited the site or atleast gave it a thought? Few..and yes, just updating your status on Face-Twit-kut-space does not count. Go to http://projecttiger.nic.in/index.asp or http://www.saveourtigers.com and take it from there. I wont suggest visiting the former website, as it seems to have lost its plot with no good tips or navigation. The Aircel initiative website http://www.saveourtigers.com/WhatCanIDoLeadtheChange.php is the answer for anything that you can do to help out the Tiger. I know we hardly have time to manage our personal life and issues, but just a small thing like 'being a responsible tourist the next time you visit a wildlife reserve' can help a long way. If you can, Donate, http://www.wwfindia.org/help/donate/ it does not have to be a big amount. I know we live in a corrupt society, but imagine this 'even if 500 out of 1000 rupees get through to the initiative, its a big thing'.
Act NOW and Who knows the tiger number might triple as we are a populace loving country.
Thanks for Reading.