Pointing to the possibility of an increase in the number of tigers according to the preliminary indications from the on-going countrywide Tiger estimation/Census, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has reiterated the need to build a social movement for tiger conservation. Addressing the week-long Global Tiger Day celebrations at Delhi, Dr. Harsh Vardhan underlined that social movements to create awareness in our country have often been built up with the help of children. In this context, the Minister quoted the example of spreading awareness on the spread of dengue some years ago and the movement for polio eradication. “Similarly, children must play a leading role on creating awareness for tiger conservation”, Dr. Harsh Vardhan averred.
The Minister emphasised that tiger conservation must become a part of the Green Good Deeds movement. He added that though major steps need to be taken, the importance of small, green deeds to protect the environment must never be forgotten.
Earlier, Dr. Harsh Vardhan released a Manual on Health and Nutritional Management of Wild Animals in Indian Zoos to mark the occasion. This manual includes basic veterinary infrastructure for catering to the day-to-day & emergent needs in the Zoos. It also includes schedules for vaccination, disinfection and de-worming of animals for ensuring their safe health & well-being. The gathering comprised more than 200 school children, their teachers from different schools of Delhi, senior officers of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and National Tiger Conservation Authority including officials and personnel of conservation partners, namely World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) & Global Tiger Forum (GTF).
In his address, Secretary, MoEF&CC, Mr. C.K Mishra said that the issue is not merely tiger conservation, but the creation of a complete ecosystem. He pointed to the critical role of school children, as school children can create a huge impact on the society. Referring to the animal-human conflict, Mr. Mishra stated that it is important to understand that it is the human beings who have entered the tiger’s habitat. He also stated that though a lot has been achieved, much more still needs to be done.
The challenge with these celebrations of increasing tiger numbers is that the methodology used is often suspect or not consistent. Not many people like to go beyond the euphoria of the increasing tiger numbers and forget that there is a huge effort going on to undermine our forests. The MoEF&CC has become a virtual clearing house for industrial projects where forests and other ecologically fragile areas are sacrificed and habitat is fragmented.
Speaking on the occasion, the Director General, Forest and Special Secretary, MoEF&CC, Dr. Siddhanta Das said tiger conservation is symbolic and will save us from water crisis. Looking at the water crisis in various parts of the country one can safely deduct their own conclusions.