The latest tiger census report is a cause for great worry as India now has just 1,411 tigers in the wild. Concerned about this alarming decline, NDTV and Sanctuary Asia magazine have embarked on a massive signature campaign to raise awareness among people as well as compel the Government to take immediate steps to save the tiger from extinction.
NDTV and Sanctuary Asia is organising a special event titled ‘India signs on to save the tiger’ on March 9 across several cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Dehradun, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Srinagar, Guwahati and Jaipur, from 8 am to 9 pm.
The event would see people from all walks of life gather at a famous landmark in their respective city and sign a petition to save the tiger. Through this initiative, NDTV is seeking to collect one million signatures to represent the voice of the masses. These signatures would be presented to the Center and State governments demanding them to take stringent steps towards saving this endangered species.
Apart from nationwide public support, the campaign is also being backed by celebrities, well-known environmentalists and NGOs. Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, John Abraham, Kareena Kapoor, Preity Zinta and Farhan Akhtar, sporstsmen Rahul Dravid and Rajyavardhan Rathore, environmentalists and conservationists like Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Magazine, and the Kids for Tiger Group have all come out to support this movement.
The campaign urges the Prime Minister to hold an emergency meeting of the National Board for Wildlife to consider the threat to the tiger; chief ministers of every State to establish a protection force for tigers; upgradation of forest guards to the level of police with better compensation; and setting up of an improved intelligence network that is critical to crack poaching.
NDTV kicked off this signature campaign by putting up banners and notebooks at various schools across the nation. NDTV is also conducting SMS polls and online petitions to reach out to as many people as possible. The count for the signature so far had been overwhelming, claimed a statement released by the channel.
Commenting on the enthusiastic response from across the country, Swati Thyagaragan, NDTV’s environment and wildlife correspondent who is spearheading the campaign, said, “Today, there are approximately only 1,400 tigers left in Indian forests. It is extremely critical to create enough public support and awareness to be able to turn this campaign into a powerful movement. I am confident our campaign will gain enough momentum to force the Government to take greater responsibility to save the tiger from the brink of extinction.”