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Showing posts from May, 2009

Human tiger conflict: Hope for Sunderbans' villagers

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Shakeela Bibi's husband was killed by a crocodile in the brackish waters of Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, in India's West Bengal.

The high density of humans adjacent to the forests here means the eternal presence of conflict. After her husband's death, Bibi faced the threat of a tiger straying out of the forest, regularly, into her village. In response, WWF-India set up a solar powered light in front of her home, in February-March this year. The light's brightness has reportedly been discouraging tigers from venturing out into this area.

Among other things, I saw hope in this lady's eyes. Hope, that the tiger will never return to her home. Hope, due to WWF's intervention

Work ‘For a living Planet’

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WWF’s outreach progamme in early 80s My first brush with World Wildlife Fund(as WWF was earlier expanded) was when I was around eight years old. In early 1980s, like much of India, toothpaste variety at my home was restricted to either Colgate or Binaca - now Cibaca (remember Binaca / Cibaca Geet Mala hosted by Ameen Sayani?). WWF-India had then been associated with Binaca, as part of its campaign to save India’s tigers. In 1983-84, I guess, Binaca launched a tiger poster campaign. Each toothpaste pack carried a tear away coupon that one could fill and send to an address in India. In return, we received a beautiful Tiger poster. I did this twice and received posters in both the instances. As a kid I was excited not only about some one in a far way city responding to my letter but also sending me a poster of Tiger – something that I deeply appreciated.


The fun in driving to 'Dilli'

It was fun driving all the way to Delhi from Bangalore in my Santro. As a nature lover, I will say the best part was driving through the length of Madhya Pradesh. I could see different landscapes ranging from the gentle rolling hills north-west of Nagpur to the dense sal forests around Itarsi and Hoshangabad including the newly created Satpuda (Satpura) Tiger Reserve.

The landscape is different as one moves northwest of Bhopal into the thorn and ridge forests around Narasinghad town. The drive from Shivpuri to Gwalior is through the very hot and dry forests including those of Madhav National Park. But these huge swathes of dry forests form a spectacular sight. Around Shivpuri the people and traffic are as rough as the landscape is. I could see one guy driving his bike with his countrymade revolver tucked into his belt at his lower back. Being in close proximity to the Chambal valley, this surely must be India's answer to America's 'wild wild west'.

India is truly big …

'Roam nations, read encyclopedias'

Friends,

I moved to Delhi in mid-April to join World Wildlife Fund (WWF) - India, as a Senior Manager - Communications, in their Species division.

I have many of you telling me you are sad, that I am moving away from Bengaluru/ Tumkur and Karnataka. I have to say the following.

This new position will allow me to work on conservation issues through much of India, particularly the wildlife sanctuaries, and among others our tiger, elephant, dolphin and rhino areas. That includes Karnataka too. Also, I will be able to exchange thoughts and learn positive things from people of other states as well.

Also, WANC is working on interesting proposals for wilderness areas in Tumkur district. I will be working with members of the team to carry out some of these tasks. So I will not be far from Tumkur as well : )

I was equally passionate about wildlife before I left for Canada in 2002. Though I was not in the midst of action, here in Karnataka, for much of the next 5 years, my travel and education ou…