How many of you have never seen tiger ? How of you love tiger ? How much will go forward to support wildlife and how much will you spread the message?
Photokatha , is going to help “Aircel and Sanctuary Magazine ” for the tiger conversation in India. We were invited to be part of the panel discussion to raise awareness on tiger conservation.
The Panel were Harshawardhan Dhanwatey, President, TRACT; Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia; Sabiana Anandaraj, Head-Corporate Communications, Aircel; Dr. Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust and Poonam Dhanwatey, Founder Trustee, TRACT
On 25th October, Mumbai 2013 in the Press Club of India , there was discussion about Tigers and wildlife only. Building on its commitment to the cause of tiger conservation in India, Aircel in association with Sanctuary Asia organized a panel discussion on ‘Tiger as the Metaphor for all of Nature’. Along with the panelists , Dia Mirza, renowned actress, virtually discussed over phone, the importance of Tiger for the ecological balance of the environment.
Aircel’s Corporate Responsibility strongly supports causes that have a societal and an environmental impact. This not only reiterates our belief of working with communities, their sustenance, but also places Aircel as a brand that strongly believes in the future of India and its youth. In partnership with various Non-Governmental Organizations, Aircel conceptualized, designed and began impactful capacity building and awareness campaign on SavingOur Tigers in 2008. The slogan ‘Just 1411 left, Save Our Tigers’ awoke the conscious of the nation. Awareness on the plight of our national animal reached every corner and made people sit up and take notice.
Brinda Malhotra, Head- Corporate Social Responsibility, Aircel said, “The role of tiger as a key enabler for ensuring ecological balance has remained largely undermined till date. Being at the top of the food chain, a tiger has the ability to directly impact our water and food security, which in turn affects our economic growth and sustainability. Aircel took up this cause in 2008 and continues to remain committed to ‘Save Our Tigers’. The panel discussion organized today is another step that we have taken in this direction and we are thankful to all the panelists for coming together in support of the cause that Aircel is so passionate about. We are confident that we will continue to do more such work in support of our national animal.”
Aircel began active on ground support work in the latter part of 2008 with WWF-India. Post a project- donor match, they conceptualized and put to practice two projects. They are detailed below:
Conservation of Tigers in Assam – The state of Assam has one of the highest densities of Tiger populations in the country, but also has very high human- animal conflict.They concentrated on capacity building here, carrying out extensive work on training of forest guards in anti poaching measures, infrastructure buildup within the tiger reserves and in securing corridors.
Support Initiative Fund – In this project, they worked across all the tiger reserves in the country, extending infrastructure and capacity support on a need basis.
Aircel along with a leading electronic channel, held a Save Our Tigers Telethon in July 2012. Over INR 5 crore was donated by the public to work on Tiger conservation. They partnered with the Wildlife Conservation Trust to implement projects on ground towards the cause. On ground implementations involve developing and deploying Rapid Response Unit vehicles, revamping anti- poaching camps and training of foresters. Work on this is in progress, and in the last couple of months they have deployed six Rapid Response vehicles in various Tiger reserves. Two Rapid Response Unit boats have been specially designed for the Sunderbans.
Kids for Tigers is a wildlife conservation initiative driven by a national campaign envisioned and implemented by Sanctuary Asia over a decade ago. Conducted in Schools across 15 cities, the programme uses the Tiger as a metaphor for all of nature and as a symbol of the environmental health of the habitats in which it is found. The programme emphasizes that the survival of the Tiger in the wild is intricately linked to the survival of life forms including humans.
Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia, came out strongly in support of preserving the natural habitat of the tiger. He said, “Expanding the Protected Area Network and providing the necessary space and isolation for tigers and other wildlife and beefing up our protective mechanisms to care for forests, rivers, coasts, wetlands and grasslands is the shrewdest possible financial investment for India. This is because the ecosystem services that our amalgam of wild habitats offers includes more power generation, more irrigation, fewer floods and droughts and that all-important service- climate moderation. Ecosystem services are notoriously difficult to express in economic terms, but the array of natural wealth we are blessed with should hardly need economic justification. Mountains, seas and forests have shaped our very destiny. Protecting this heritage should be the very purpose of our lives. The best tiger habitat is the human heart. If we create space for tigers here, everything else will follow.”
Sharing her views on wildlife tourism, Poonam Dhanwatey, Founder Trustee, Tiger Research And Conservation Trust (TRACT) said, “The way forward is to usher in the concept of Community Reserves where tigers and other wild species of plants and animals become a source of income and not a cause for the depletion of people’s wealth. By shifting to ‘ecosystem farming’ where the ‘produce’ is ‘the tourism experience’ marginal farmers could become the owner-beneficiaries of lucrative wildlife tourism ventures in the shape of home stays, bolstered by the biodiversity that is sure to spill over from dense, biodiverse parks onto their own resurrected lands. It’s a win-win for all players. The visitor experience will dramatically improve, biodiversity will return, and the living standards and respect of local communities will rise, even as human-animal conflicts drop.”
Dr. Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust also shared similar views regarding ecotourism during the discussion. He said, “There are several examples from around the world endorsing how forest conservation and livelihoods of local communities can be united in purpose. The model could work in the Indian context if the raison d’etre of communities becomes wildlife and nature conservation. Sensible ecotourism, where real benefits, rather than menial jobs flow to local communities is a step in the right direction. It reduces their dependence on the forest, while winning their support to keep forests intact. All that the tiger and other wildlife ask from us is to reduce disturbances in their forest homes and allow them safe passage through ours. An aware and self-sufficient community is the cornerstone of future conservation models. Unless the natural resources of a country are not safeguarded, the country will not prosper.”
Actor Dia Mirza, who has been working towards the cause of tiger conservation with Sanctuary Asia through Leave Me Alone campaign, added “Tigers are as important as any of our loved ones and protecting the Tiger should be our top priority.”
‘Save Our Tigers’ is an initiative by Aircel aimed towards environment and tiger conservation.
Tigers may be one of the most revered animals but they are also vulnerable to extinction. Aircel has been working with several organizations across all tiger reserves in the country extending infrastructure and capacity support.
Aircel has associated with various tiger conservationists like Mike Pandey, Shekar Dattatri, Valmik Thapar, Bittu Sahgal and others across the country to spread the message of ‘Save our Tigers’
“From L to R: Harshawardhan Dhanwatey, President, TRACT; Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia; Sabiana Anandaraj, Head-Corporate Communications, Aircel; Dr. Anish Andheria, President, Wildlife Conservation Trust and Poonam Dhanwatey, Founder Trustee, TRACT”
The press conference was so provocative that I , Rutavi Mehta have decided to be part of this “Save out Tiger” campaign too in someway . There were many other bloggers with me who were invited to cover this event. And the group pic goes like this:
The giveaway for this event was something made me more interested in the project 🙂
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