I have dedicated my life towards working for the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, it tigers and the people. I think winning the people's support for the conservation of any forests and its animals is key. And it is the Kids for Tigers (KFT) Express that I run with the help of several like-minded, big hearted volunteers, Aircel and Sanctuary Asia.
I traverse through the villages in my Tiger Express van that surround the Ranthambhore park which is unfortunately rife with human-animal conflict. The van takes teachers and experts around into the villages where children as well as adults are educated about the importance of tigers and their habitats and how their health ensure full and running rivers which is source of all our lives.
But, education is imparted in different ways such as through wildlife films screenings, providing wildlife and nature books, holding photo exhibitions, organizing talks by renowned conservationists and naturalists as well as organizing clean-up drives within the forest premises, taking children on nature trails etc.
The idea is to instill a sense of awe and respect for tigers and all other flora and fauna within these habitats in the minds of the locals, especially children. It is the children, the future heirs to this planet and its treasures who need to be enlightened. Moulding their thoughts and actions in the right direction now will take care of a lot later. And the repercussions of this will manifest far and wide.
It was in 2002, when I was studying in 9th standard in school, that I set my eyes on a tiger for the first time in Ranthambhore and my mind was made to do whatever I can to help save the tigers. I remember, on several occasions, when tigers would stray off into the human habitat such as fields, and would be turned away by the irate villagers. I have literally rescued cubs who would invariably get left behind and hand them over to the Forest Department so that they could be reunited with their mothers.
I have been involved with Sanctuary Asia since 2005 and launched Tiger Express in 2011 and my drive and motivation as well as the impact of my work is only getting stronger and I don't intend to stop now. I believe that every person, into wildlife conservation or not, should carry a basic sense of responsibility and affinity for all creatures and co-exist in harmony.
A blog by Govardhan meena, Coordinator, Kids for Tiger, Ranthambore