Tiger Crimes

t24 on bridge alt flp ©

Sitting in Washington, but thinking of Ranthambhore and all the time I’ve spent with T24, easily one of the most magnificent life forms ever designed by Nature.
Today he sits squarely in the middle of a raging controversy with many baying for his blood and an equal number championing his innocence.
4 people are dead because of him in the past few years. Unregulated forest areas, ill equipped forest guards, over zealous tourism, insensitive locals, India’s over population and indeed T24’s man eating tendencies are all under blame & vicious attack on this heated issue.
While better-qualified agencies decide on a verdict, which most likely is to be his removal to a largish enclosure near Udaipur, larger questions about the survival and management of our tiny little ‘dots’ of wilderness remain unanswered.

Dominant tigers are supposed to defend their territory. Against anything that is construed to be a potential threat. He has supposedly stalked his victims. Not defending but predatory behavior. A man-killer in today’s world evokes angry retaliation by locals. Poisonings, which end up killing many more tigers (often the wrong ones, often entire families), threats to the Forest Departments and other serious law & order situations.

T24, guilty or not guilty? Either way, it is human beings that will decide his fate. Somehow it doesn’t seem entirely fair that only the representatives of the victims will pass a verdict, but that is how she rolls. Maybe T24 has to go in order to keep the many others in clover.

“Many that live deserves death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” ~ Tolkien

A very sad day, any way you look at it, and with no easy answers. RIP, forest guard, Rampal Saini

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Happiness?

bullock cart

” Happiness is not a state to arrive at, its a manner of travelling”

Not really a wildlife image, but a peek into an India I wouldn’t often experience otherwise. Encounters like this, while waiting for a leopard to emerge from a cave in Bera, Rajasthan, I found myself challenging some set notions of contentment and happiness that many of us associate with urbanized modern living and expensive formal education. Something thats sets us up to acquire and appreciate the finer things in life. But does it? Does having very little automatically mean poverty and wretchedness? The question hangs.

Reminds me of a story about the queen of Tonga, a humungous lady with a beatific smile, when asked what she did, answered, “ I just be. ”