Sometimes one feels that there is no hope left for us . This happens mainly when people does not show any sensitivity to their environment , to their fellow beings .
Last sunday, december 2nd , was a day of hopelessness for me . While I was thinking about Bhopal survivors , a news came that a tiger was shot dead in Bathery, Wayanad. What it did? It killed some cattle and goats . Why the tiger killed these domestic animals ? The answer is very clear. The animal was hungry. The only animal which kills ( not for food) other animals and one’s own species is human being . So the tiger was hungry. But it could not eat much of the kill because people gathered around in panic in the morning. So also the forest officials.
The discussion followed after the murder was most disturbing. For many tiger is not very important. They even equated them to cattle. Human beings is the supreme. Some body suggested that since the number of tigers have gone up they have to be culled. How many live tigers are there in the wild? Hardly 2,000. In Wayanad hardly 30. How many people are there in Kerala or in Wayanad? So what is the logic behind this argument?
In the ’80s when few people started to discuss about forest, wildlife, oceans etc as the life supporting systems , majority of the people including social activists , religious heads etc thought that it is crazy. Development economists and politicians thought that this is going back in history. Now 25 years later we have even lost our academic understanding of this big animal tiger. The other day I was reading an article about children and nature. It said that children who are brought up in a nature deficient atmosphere will have some disorders later in their life. So true. Kerala is getting urbanised so fast , our people are loosing many human talents , including that of appreciating our fellow beings and nature in its totality. Nature has become an abstract thing for us. It is not real for majority . This is what led to the tragedy in Wayanad.
People in the villages have lived with tigers and elephants before. They had mechanisms to protect themselves from the wild animals and methods of compensating loss. It is not a rocket science to understand the ways of animals. But the developed urban societies have lost that connection with the wild. Corruption, encroachment ( on the same day Ministry of Environment and Forests had come out with a report which says that in the Kerala part of western ghats around 44,000 ha forest have been encroached up on in the last few years), greed all led to the panic situation and the authorities failed miserably in handling the situation.
Unless we correct this deficiency , more wild animals will get killed . More forests will be gone . More rivers will be dried . More biodiversity will be destroyed. Do you think that we can live without all these ?