They say a picture paints a thousand words, I hope this one does, tt’s a Female Tigress wondering through her territory in the morning light, taken in Ranthambhore Tiger reserve, India. This photograph captures the moment when she became aware of my presence as I sat in a small jeep, hidden from view, thousands of miles from home, engine turned off and the air thick with alarm calls. I could not only feel my heart beat I could hear it among the forest noises as I captured this photograph.
On 29th August 2012, the Supreme Court in India decides the plight of the Royal Bengal Tiger by those that maybe haven’t even seen or even been to those areas now that they may condemn to the history books. India is home to half the world’s tiger population, according to the latest census released in March 2011 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current population is estimated at 1,706 – up from 1,411 in 2008. A link hear to the recent ruling can be seen.
The Supreme Court wants the Tiger reserves to restrict tourism to the buffer zones, but the problem in Ranthambore, as well as other reserves, is that the only area it can designate as buffer is not somewhere tourists would want to visit, let alone tigers. There, the buffer zone is a wilderness with very little flora or fauna, littered with gravel mines. To reach the zone, tigers would have to travel 35 miles from the main park, and even cross main roads. So these proposed plans and buffer zones just won’t work and will be the beginning of the end for Tigers in India.
Ranthambhore Tigers are doing really well and the reserve is run to a strict rule. At present there is 25 cubs there doing well, one family being brought up by their Father, the first time in history this has been reported. And my group of clients this year had the amazing privilege of witnessing this and capturing the images of dad with his two cubs as their mum had died and he was bringing them up alone. To read the story of this case click here.
Animals only breed when they are happy, so how are tourists distributing them? as in core areas Tiger numbers on the whole are on the up. Nature would tell us if it wasn’t happy with falling birth rates, Tigers numbers falling or dying. But she tells us the opposite here in Ranthambhore. A place I know well and love, having visited many times over the last several years. I’ve met many drivers, guides and people that live in and around the tourisms area of Ranthambhore whose whole economy is based on tourism, take this away and they have nothing.
All of which rely on the Tiger for their livehood, but more than that they love, cherish and look after these animals. Keeping them as safe as they possibly can. Remove all of this and this will send the Tigers into the history books I believe and many others on the ground also do. I’ve been told its called – community based conservation, and the tiger will be exterminated without it.
I am no scientist but it’s so clear the Tigers are ONLY living because of these people and tourism, let’s hope they carry on keeping Mother Nature’s most beautiful animal as safe as it can. I hope they make the right decision for the Tiger first and foremost, keeping this animal alive, safe and well for the future generations to see just how beautiful they are, good luck to the Tiger and also the Indian people.
I am off to Madagascar at the weekend for my 11 day photo tour there so once I return home I will up date my blog on the courts ruling as the date of the hearing coincides with when I’m away, many thanks.