A Kolkata couple travelled for over 36,000 km on their bike, covering 50 tiger reserves in the country to spread awareness about the tiger conservation.
Residents of Salt Lake area in Kolkata, Rathin Das and Gitanjali Dasgupta, travelled Sundarbans, Buxa, Kaziranga, Pilibhit, Nagarjuanasagar, Dudhowa, Ranthambore and Bandipur tiger reserves. They also took part in 643 campaigns conducted at schools near the tiger reserves to sensitise the next generation about the needs to ensure that wild animals and humans do not stray into each other’s territory in search of food.
“We talked to villagers and they said some tourists flout basic guidelines by entering into forest zones playing loud music. We told them to coordinate with forest personnel to prevent such incidents,” Rathin said.
The couple was backed by NGOs Exploring Nature, South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE) and the Asian Wildlife Photographer Club of the UK during the expedition.
Rathin highlighted that a few tiger reserves are working well and face trouble from tourists as they don’t follow instructions. “Bandipur in Karnataka and Melghat in Maharashtra are doing a good job. They have been able to increase the green cover in the core areas over the last five years,” he said.
The climate change has forced many animals to leave their habitats in search of food, few months before when a polar bear wandered off by many hundred kilometres in search of food from his natural habitat, looking skinny and starving in Russia. Tigers are usually poached and deemed as man-eater even during natural encounters.
They plan to tour countries next January to raise awareness like Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Russia, China and Cambodia. “We will be again hitting the road in January and plan to visit several countries having tiger population. I think there is a need to raise awareness about tiger preservation in every country,” Rathin said.