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Monday, March 7, 2011

The year 2011 has begun rather grimly for the national animal of India.

Fateh Singh Rathore, who spent his lifetime in protecting the tigers of Ranthambhor, passed away recently. With him, India has lost one of the most dedicated and passionate tiger conservationist. His work in Ranthambhor is commendable and although he won’t be around, the work he started will continue through Tiger Watch, the organisation he founded. The Corbett Foundation extends its condolences to Fatehji's family.

Fourteen tigers have died so far in India; the last one being on February 19, 2011. Among these mortalities, four tigers have died from the Corbett landscape. One of them was a fine 10-year old male who was believed to be the ‘man-eater’ responsible for the recent human deaths in Corbett. While it is agreeable that the Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) authorities and the State Government had to take action to prevent any further attacks on people of Corbett, couldn’t they have tranquilised the tiger instead of shooting it at close quarters? With every tiger being important, such knee-jerk reactions should be avoided in future and the decisions must be taken in the interest of the animal and the people. It is unfortunate that all this had to happen when the Government of Uttarakhand is celebrating the Platinum Jubilee Year of Corbett National Park. The Corbett Foundation sympathises with the grieving families of the victims and have given them token compensation. I hope that the tiger killed was indeed responsible for the attacks on people and that there are no further attacks.

In March 2011, tiger experts from all around the world would be visiting CTR. The delegation will be discussing various aspects of tiger conservation in Corbett landscapes through field visits, workshops and interaction with the locals. I hope this visit makes a positive impact on the conservation efforts taken in the Corbett landscape.

The Corbett Foundation has completed its relief work subsequent to the devastating floods in 2010. As part of the Platinum Jubilee celebration of CTR, our Awareness team will take 75 school groups on a guided visit to Corbett Tiger Reserve. The Kutch Ecological Research Centre has taken up a rain water harvesting project in Kutch that will ensure clean and sufficient drinking water for people and animals of Jatavandh village. Our divisions in Kanha and Bandhavgarh have initiated the much-needed health awareness programme among the tribals and other local populations. Shortly, five more villages in Kanha and Bandhavgarh will be provided with Solar Lanterns and other renewable energy alternatives thus making their dependency on the forest to bare minimum. Many more such grassroots and meaningful projects are planned by the Foundation in 2011 in partnership with like-minded corporate groups. I appeal to the corporate world to extend their kind support to the Foundation in achieving the harmony between nature and people.

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