NDTV and Aircel joined hands to launch the NDTV-Aircel Save Our Tigers campaign in March 2010 with the aim of spreading awareness about the state of the big cats in the country and the crisis they were in. At the time the latest tiger estimation had put the number at 1411. The campaign is supported by superstar Amitabh Bachchan, Sanctuary Asia, India’s premier wildlife magazine and the Wildlife Conservation Trust, an organisation deeply involved in conserving tiger habitats across the country.
Since the launch in 2010, extensive programming on NDTV has given the campaign substance and depth by highlighting issues at the core of the India’s tiger problem. From the plight of villagers inside the sanctuaries to the threat from poachers, NDTV has covered all aspects when it comes to saving tigers and forests. NDTV was the first to show how forest guards who man our forest wealth live, by doing extensive filming which showed the everyday challenged they face.
NDTV also did a 12-hour television event near a national park to raise funds for conservation. A massive challenge, we broke new grounds with the innovative format of the ‘Save Our Tiger Telethon.’
In the second year, we highlighted the impact of the campaign and continued to re-iterate the challenges, demanding commitments from the chief minsters of all tiger states and engage all stakeholders in a dialogue.
The 3rd edition of the campaign was launched in April 2014. We came up with the 6-point agenda for Tiger conservation and got the support of more than one million Indians through a signature campaign. We again reached out to Chief Ministers of key tiger states and requested their support on specific action points for each state. Their support was instrumental in providing on ground measures to ensure the protection of Tigers and their habitat
a) Raised almost Rs.10 crores to make a tangible difference on ground by equipping reserves with necessary items to help guard our forests
b) Impact regarding policy change
Buffer zones declared in Maharashtra
Forest Guard vacancies filled up in Maharashtra
Tiger Task Force to be created in Uttarakhand
Stopped road construction through tiger reserve NH 6
Corbett declared a silence zone
The Tiger population has now reached an impressive figure of 2,226! Which is an encouraging rise from a shocking figure of only 1,411 in 2006. This growth is an important indicator of our collective efforts as a community. The rise in number has reaffirmed our belief that with the vital intervention we can make a positive contribution to restore the balance in nature. To celebrate this increase in tiger population, the campaign in its current i.e. 4th year organised a special event on the occasion of World Tiger Day on 29 July 2015. Minister of State of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar supported the cause along with Bollywood actress Dia Mirza and singer Kailash Kher. The event acknowledged the success of the campaign as well as felicitated people who have done exemplary work on the ground for India’s wildlife.
Going forward in Season 4, we will continue our efforts to travelling to tiger reserves around the country, profiling them and examining the conservation issues on the ground, from how the forests department copes with the protection of both the tiger and its habitat and the challenges they face. While celebrating the numbers rise, we are also looking at how this rise in numbers actually puts forward bigger challenges. As tiger numbers increase, more space is required for them, more protected areas where they can move in safety, more awareness amongst people so that people are not only included as an integral part of saving tigers but benefit from living with these big cats as opposed to only being in conflict with them.
Season 4 hopes to put forward the picture of increasing conflict while also examining places where the right steps have helped secure the tiger's future and why continued support of local communities can make all the difference between rising or dropping tiger numbers.
While our journey is much longer, with your support and encouragement we hope to hope that the number of the big cats only increase further.
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