Bindu Shajan Perappadan

NEW DELHI: When students of Shri Ram School at Aravali sat down for this special meeting on Thursday morning they knew they had a very important task at hand -- to contribute their bit to save the national animal.

Paying special attention to the lot of tigers in Ranthambhore, the school children -- all members of the Shri Paryavaran Parent Support Group who are supporting the cause of wildlife conservation -- invited the local people and non-government organisations of the area to share the inside story and their experiences.

Devoted to the cause of conservation of wildlife, the students at Shri Ram School have raised their voice for protecting the tiger, Olive Ridley turtles on the coast of Orissa, and the fast dwindling vulture population.

"For a sustainable future we need to balance conservation of wildlife with economic development. They go hand in hand. Doing our bit to save the park, we are working towards organising ourselves to create awareness and networking among people, imploring the government to take action, and working for the rehabilitation of the Mogya tribals. The Junior Tiger Task Force -- Kids for Tigers -- from the Shri Ram Schools on Thursday sought answers to some important questions," said Shri Ram School Head of Environment Programme Madhu Bhatnagar.

The children enquired why the tiger population of Ranthambhore had dwindled so fast, why the authorities do not reveal the exact number of tigers there, why haven't the para-military forces been deployed to protect the park and why aren't the local people and non-government organisations being involved in protecting the park.

The objective of this unique project, under which "Ranthambhore Unfolds: An Alarm Call" was conducted on Thursday, is to provide employment and a source of continuous income to these families in their natural abode in Rajasthan arid lands.

"The purpose is to shift and rehabilitate the Mogya tribals away from poaching which is the only thing they know. The crux of the solution is to change their mind and make them work hard to earn a living and blend into society. The estimated project cost is about Rs. 75,000 for the first phase implementation at one of their rehabilitation centres and we have collected Rs. 35,000 till date," said Ms. Bhatnagar.