Before going any further, there's some very disturbing tiger news to deal with. For a while now I've been reading in different places that authorities in India are over-reporting the tiger numbers in the wild to attract tourists - now my suspicions have been confirmed by a major study that just came out. Indeed the number of tigers has drastically gone down in India instead of stabilizing or increasing! Poaching and habitat destruction are reported as the major causes. You know there is so much poverty in rural India and the population is booming at such alarming intervals that it is only inevitable that this will happen. The government there has apparently failed to protect their tigers and it's such a shame :( . I had my doubts even about the way they used to do the census - using the paw prints to identify individual tigers - 'pug marks'. However, this method is considered obsolete now since pug marks vary according to terrain and an individual tiger can leave several different paw prints depending on the pace at which it is walking - I mean unless the tiger has a clearly identifiable anomaly like a limp etc it's impossible to tell one tiger from another simply by looking at the pug marks. And the greatest decline is reported to be in the state of Madhya Pradesh, that has a major chunk of the wild leopard population - God help the leopards there! You know I think if we can't save the most magnificent animal on earth - what can we save???
Well I've lost my appetite over this one! Hope things change for the better in India and government acts quickly and effectively there for the good.
[pic - a young tigress nuzzles against her mother in captivity - I guess that's where we are destined to see the tigers - only in zoos :( ]