This summer, I’ll be taking part in the annual tiger census at the Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve, and hope to study the carrying capacity of the land as well as compare GIS data of the area over the past few years to see how the land has changed. I’m hoping my research paper is as impressive as it sounds.
The tiger has always been special to me – from Jim Corbett to Ruskin Bond – stories of the tiger fascinated me. I marveled at the power of the animal, its ability to come back from the brink and in spite of its magnificent ferociousness its helplessness in the face of human “traditions” and greed.
One of my first assignments for The Times of India, Hyderabad, was to look into – along with one of the principal correspondents – the killing of a tiger at the Nehru Zoological Park. While the “killers” have been found, I am still dissatisfied with the answers that were given.
Here at the Nagarjuna Srisailam Tiger Reserve, tiger numbers are not very impressive. A recent distribution of a few thousand hectares of land, to people encroaching forest areas, under an Act (read bid to get votes) has further denuded lush tiger homes.
All the odds seem to be neatly stacked against tigers.
In spite of this, if I can help even a handful of tigers find safe haven, freedom and a patch of land they can call home, I would have done my job.