Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Broken Tail - A Pioneer for Tiger Conservation

This evening's Natural World told the story of Broken Tail, a plucky young tiger who met his end when he wandered far from the safety of his home-ground in India's Ranthambore National Park, described by narrator Colin Stafford-Johnson as "tiger paradise".

Colin communicates the personality behind the predator, describing how Broken Tail was unique in his mischievous, confident and often arrogant behaviour; traits which no doubt motivated his bold decision to leave the reserve. A year later, the animal was hit by a train, 100 miles away in Darrah.

In what seems initially like a futile journey, Colin aims to retrace the tiger's journey, through inhospitable landscapes and "tiger killing territory", rife with poachers. But he assures us that his mission is vital to aid tiger conservation, in highlighting the scattered habitats where Broken Tail would have found refuge on his route through the badlands.

Having left his home "in search of girls", we realise the cold reality that, for Broken tail "there was no-one else out there", and we are warned that "tigers are absolutely on the edge". If current trends continue, India's 1400 wild tigers will have disappeared in five years time. Making a vital connection, Colin conveys to us that human survival in India is wholly dependent on the existence of tigers: without tigers the forests will not be protected, and without forests watersheds will disappear.

But through the eye-witnesses he meets, Colin finds a glimmer of hope for the future of India's tiger population. The reverence many of India's people continue to hold for nature is evident in those who watched the tiger drink and pass through their homes on his journey. And when Broken Tail's body is stretchered off the railway track, he's cremated with the same respect as a human would be. "Can you imagine anyone allowing such a predator to roam freely in Europe?" Colin asks us.

Colin's quest was not in vain. Following his campaign to to connect India's unprotected habitat fragments, Darrah has since been designated a National Park and discussions over whether Ranthambore should become a designated tiger reserve are underway.

If you missed Natural World tonight, you can watch it again here on BBC iplayer

Image taken from WXXI

Other articles about Tiger conservation in India:
- The Lost Land of the Tiger
- Fierce Roars Over Tiger Tourism
- Tiger Penis and Shark Fin Soup

For travel journalism and copywriting services visit www.lucygrewcock.com
This blog was also posted on Responsible Travel News

1 comment:

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