by Dr. A.J.T. Johnsingh
One of India’s foremost conservation biologists, Dr. Johnsingh takes us on a disorienting and sad journey, shifting our mind’s eyes into reverse with the sad story of a young tiger who struggles to survive in a shrinking and degraded habitat, even as the presence of humans and greedy poachers drive him to a fate he never wanted.
The trail, shrouded in morning mist, along which I was walking with my mother, in one of the intact forests in the Himalayan foothills, was heavily littered with animal signs. There were tracks and dung of elephant, sambar, chital, barking deer and wild pig. There were sloth bear, Himalayan black bear and leopard signs too.
Overpowering the smell of all these animals was the odor of my race and there were old and new saucer-size pug marks, lumps of droppings, claw-marks at a height of about two meters on the boles of large trees which had soft bark. Many of the bushes overhanging the path also had the strong whiff of my race. It was a clear sign that it was an ideal home for me, a young tiger of 10 months old, to grow as an adult under the protective care of my mother who had inherited this piece of jungle, rich in animals, from her mother. Generations of my mother’s ancestors have lived in this forest defending territory, hunting and raising family. Read more »
Read more »