When will we save our Tigers?

Our Indian identity is so dependent on the magnificent Tigers, and we still have the audacity to call them our ‘national animal’ when not enough is done to stop their merciless poaching in the reserves of Maharashtra. A picture taken from a recent poaching incident at Vidarbha Tiger reserve –

It appears that the poachers have been having a free run in the state and in many other parts of our country. Tigers are chopped and bagged, and every part of their body is used.China has a large part to play in all this. I live in Hong Kong and I can see where every part of the Tiger reaches, into small bottles of Chinese medicines here and across the mainland and everywhere there is a Chinese presence, practically across South East Asia. What is our Government doing? Are they waiting with bated breath for the last Tiger to be chopped and then proudly declare that we have wiped out our national treasure completely? Are we hesitant to take on China on this issue? Did the Chinese listen to Jairam Ramesh’s so called warnings? Obviously not! Jayanthi Natarajan (now Environment & Forest Minister) has stated that 32 Tigers have already died this year. Why cannot we protect our Tigers like the way Australia protect’s its whales, fiercely? For Australia, the enemy is not from within and they are quite successful in pushing the Japanese back. In India, the enemy is from within and this enemy feeds China. “The Chinese culture believes that nearly all parts of the tiger can be used to derive some medicinal cure for any number of ailments. Here are some examples of how tiger parts and their derivatives are used in traditional Chinese medicine and causing the tiger to be a critically endangered species:

Tiger claws: used as a sedative for insomnia

Teeth: used to treat fever

Fat: used to treat leprosy and rheumatism

Nose leather: used to treat superficial wounds such as bites

Tiger bone: used as an anti-inflammatory drug to treat rheumatism and arthritis, general weakness, headaches, stiffness or paralysis in lower back and legs and dysentery

Eyeballs: used to treat epilepsy and malaria

Tail: used to treat skin diseases

Bile: used to treat convulsions in children associated with meningitis

Whiskers: used to treat toothaches

Brain: used to treat laziness and pimples

Penis: used in love potions such as tiger soup, as an aphrodisiac

Dung or feces: used to treat boils, hemorrhoids and cure alcoholism”

There are viable natural alternatives for those seeking traditional Chinese medicines to treat ailments and disease without using tiger derivatives.

What use are ” Save the Tiger” campaigns or are it’s effects yet to be seen, long after its all over? For animal lovers like myself, what can I do but weep in utter helplessness? What can I do other than beg for a stringent law applicable across the entire country against poaching, one that allows to shoot every poacher on sight? The Government may claim to be doing something, but, whatever they are doing is obviously not enough. And what can I do other than recite William Blake’s Tiger as a reminder of this once ‘Kingly’ creature, now being reduced to ashes. We continue to watch uselessly ..

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

( Input from tigersincrisis.com for Chinese Medicine information )

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