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That Showbiz Hunting…

Tiger-IndiaVanity has many forms and for the macho male, an assertion of his male dominance frequently takes the form of not being afraid, of taking danger in his stride. But is it really a courageous effort to take down and shoot an animal that perhaps is not even aware of your presence or what is going to befall it when it’s out to have food or water?

This is precisely what has been happening over the course of a few months. First there were pictures of a hunter who had been invited to kill a man eater, and the papers splashed news about how he had graciously left his vacation midway to hunt and kill the man eater. A few days later, he posed with the dead animal. The people were happy and apparently a nuisance had been taken care of. The forest department had fulfilled its duty. Never mind the fact that their duty is not to invite people to kill the animal but to look after the flora and fauna.

Nowhere does it say in the wildlife act that a man eater should be killed without trying all possible avenues first. It is the last resort and even then the order needs to come in writing from the Chief Wildlife Warden and the reasons need to be recorded. This is not the Stone Age and advanced technologies are available to tranquilise and rehabilitate the animal.

We must remember that the animal hasn’t invaded our land; it is always the other way round. We have invaded its habitat. Is it really an act of machismo if a hunter is in hiding, lays traps and kills an animal from long distance using sophisticated weapons?

Such pointless killing achieves nothing beyond satisfying base instincts of man. And what happens when it is discovered later on that the wrong animal was killed? Nothing! Such eye for an eye tactics are founded on baseless reasons which are justified on the premise that humans are on the top of every hierarchy level and must have primacy over everything that nature has to offer. Never mind the fact that such hierarchy has been bestowed on man by man himself.

But what is perhaps more disheartening is the blatant effort to convert a coward into a hero.

For conservation to take place, a change in mindset is necessary. As David Attenborough has rightly said, “People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.”

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