10 people, 6,500 km, 14 reserves, one mission

Published: 01 November, 2011 06:48 IST | Shashank Shekhar |

Team comprising Delhiites and foreigners to go on a road trip to spread awareness about dwindling population of tigers and to generate funds

Team comprising Delhiites and foreigners to go on a road trip to spread awareness about dwindling population of tigers and to generate funds

In a novel initiative the conserve the fast-dwindling population of tigers in the country, a few concerned Delhiites have joined hands with some foreigners to spread awareness regarding the issue and drive 6,500 km in 45 days. A team of 10 people has decided to drive in a car and cover 14 tiger reserves, starting from Kochi. The funds so raised will be utilised to build infrastructure to protect the species.

Go tigers! Motorcycle world record holder Michael Williams

Adventure traveller Richard Meredith will spearhead the project along with former IAF fighter pilot Sanjiv "Daboo" Dewan and motorcycle world record holder Michael Williams, under the banner "Save That Tiger" (www.save-that-tiger.com).

Former IAF fighter pilot Sanjiv "Daboo" Dewan. Pics/MiD DAY

Past perfect
UK-based Meredith has previously journeyed across India from Pakistan to Bangladesh by car and from Mumbai to Kanyakumari by train. He has helped generate more than �400,000 in recent years for various social causes.
With an aim to reach out to a million eyes, the Save That Tiger Journey will spread awareness about the dangerous drop in the number of tigers from 100,000 at the turn of the 20th century to a mere 3,200 now.

"Tiger is most magnificent and endangered cat. We are trying to reach as many people as possible, covering nine states including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, before finally reaching Delhi. During the course, we will meet and interact with local communities, forest officials and conservationists to identify and understand areas that need urgent action," said Dewan.

"India with 1706 tigers is home to over 50 per cent of the world"s remaining tiger population and has become the epicentre of the global battle for the species" survival. It now becomes our responsibility to spread the message so that our coming generation can also see this beautiful animal," said Williams.

No government funding
So far, the drive is not funded by any government body and the funds raised through the initiative will go to bona fide sustainable wildlife conservation efforts in India. "There are many rangers who are working for the protection of the animal but does not possess basic infrastructure. We are looking at generating around �50,000, which will be used to empower them," added Michael.

There is a dedicated Web team that will also have an international signature campaign in support of the tiger to be presented to the Indian Minister for Environment and Forests in Delhi at the end of the drive. The expedition will be supported by team members from the base camp in Delhi headed by Mukesh Thareja, who is looking after legal and financial matters.

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