Compasion and conservation must go together
If we cannot change our behaviour at ground level, all these achievements and breakthroughs will seem like placatory public relations exercises. Let conservation translate to compassion in the way we live.
We seem to be bullish on wildlife this week. Two prominent developments have given those who are inclined towards environmental issues much heart. First up is Prime Minister Narendra Modi featuring in a special episode of Discovery's Man Vs Wild to air on August 12.
Then a roar of approval for a four-year tiger census report, known as 'Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India' released this week. It shows a huge jump in tiger numbers across all landscapes in India from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 now, a rise of 741 individuals in four years. In percentage terms, it works out to 33 per cent.
These rousing reports though will have real meaning when we in the city start to balance our environment and development much more sensitively. Wanton development has shrunk the animal habitat and man-animal conflict in the city suburbs is the reason for this. We need to mitigate how much we take away from these animals and it is the authorities who now must stem the tide of taking away even more from these creatures. As individuals, we can learn how best we manage these conflicts and it begins with introspection and reflection about how they came about in the first place.
In an urban milieu be much more careful about how we treat the animals we encounter from the stray dog to a kitten curled up like a ball outside a building, in a corner. Teach children it is not funny to tease, laugh and pelt stones at dogs or kick kittens. We have seen and read appalling reports about cats being burnt and creatures being subject to heinous cruelty simply for a lark. If we cannot change our behaviour at ground level, all these achievements and breakthroughs will seem like placatory public relations exercises. Let conservation translate to compassion in the way we live.
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