A group of children with tiger masks greet you with excited shouts of “Happy Tiger Day” and hand out brochures as you enter the premises of Chandrakanthi Public School at Tex Park Road.
A little later, at the school auditorium, a boy recites verses from the popular William Blake poem ‘ The Tyger’ , which lists out the majesty and fiery attributes of the animal.
Apt, considering the event was held on Global Tiger Day (July 29) to stress on the need to protect our national animal.
Members of the city’s Environment Conservation Group are taking all measures to make school children aware of the importance of tigers.
For over 500 excited children from Classes III to VII of the school, it was a novel experience.
‘ Tiger Express’, the van mobilised to spread awareness about the animal, zoomed into the school campus, and the attention of the kids shifted to a colourful banner.
This banner lists out interesting facts, talks about the importance of tigers and the threats they face from human encroachment and indiscriminate poaching. The kids shared this information with their friends. They later voiced the lines, “I am the voice of the tiger, leave me alone,” a message meant for humans.
The Tiger Express will travel to 22 schools around Coimbatore over two days and is part of the nation-wide “Save our Tigers’ campaign conducted by NDTV, Aircel and Sanctuary Asia.
Schools have already been showing active involvement, with members of eco clubs taking part in discussions on how to conserve the environment and, in turn, protect the tiger.
Other schools conducted photography exhibitions on themes of environment conservation. Some take their children on Nature walks. M. Uma, principal, Chandra Matriculation Higher Secondary School, says that during such walks, children interact directly with villagers and talk about how important it is to preserve trees.
R. Mohammed Saleem, president, Environment Conservation Group and co-ordinator of the ‘Kids for Tigers’ campaign, says the children are quite aware of the threats tigers face. This is a good sign, he adds.
Saleem is also intensifying his efforts to curb the decreasing population of the tiger.
The children, and tigers, are roaring in approval.