Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Save Our Tigers

The Save Our Tigers is a collaborative campaign run by Aircel and WWF-India.

I recently came across their poignant advert (
which you can view here).

With the Chinese New Year (interestingly, of the Tiger!) barely 3 days away, tigers have been placed on WWF’s list of ten critically important endangered species facing extinction. There are only 3200 tigers left in this world (a reduction of 95%), spread over the subspecies of the Amur, Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, and Sumatran tigers. Three subspecies (viz. Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers) are now extinct, and the South China tiger have not been sighted for the past 25 years.

In India, from an estimated 40,000 tigers a century ago, only 1411 tigers remain in the wild (according to a study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India, in association with NTCA, Government of India, 2008). The Bengal tigers (the national animal of India) have, unfortunately, become an easy victim to the avaricious and callous man. It was cruelly hunted during the colonial times and its parts are now used in certain indigenous/traditional Asian medicine.

Please, let not our descendants read about the tigers like we now read about the dodo.

register your support and do the spread the word to your friends and acquaintances as well. You can also join the Facebook page or tweet @saveourtigers

The Ponmudi example

Over the past 45 years, various members of my family have researched into various issues faced by the Ponmudi forests, part of the Western Ghats range of high mountains in India. Ponmudi, at 1100 m elevation, is located 60 kms North-East of Trivandrum city. When my father commenced his fieldtrips in the 1960s, the Ponmudi forests used to start immediately after the Vithura village. Nearly four decades later, Vithura is now a sprawling township and the forests have receded approximately 5 kms, and now commence from Kallar bridge. Ponmudi, from a distance

Although Ponmudi is now incorporated under the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve (so named after the 1868m tall Agastyamalai peak), Kallar is changing with new developments sprouting up and more developments slated to be constructed at the summit, an area with montane grasslands and cloud forests (also known as sholas). Plantations sprung up in these mountains nearly 100-150 years ago (mainly tea), which was later followed by the construction of tourist resorts.

This is just one little example of what’s happening in one little part of the Western Ghats. But it cannot be denied that the pattern can be extrapolated to forests elsewhere around the world.

The afore-mentioned developments at Kallar