Roar for Tigers

Help us save blackbucks: Pilibhit tiger reserve’s b’day tweet @SalmanKhan

Help us save blackbucks: Pilibhit tiger reserve’s b’day tweet @SalmanKhan

Jan 2, 2016

Pilibhit: On his fiftieth birthday, Salman Khan has a special message — from a wildlife sanctuary with blackbucks! The star has been invited by the administration of Pilibhit tiger reserve which boasts of a sizeable population of blackbucks to help them conserve the endangered species. “Happy b’day @BeingSalmanKhan. We invite u to come to Pilibhit sanctuary where we have Black Bucks (sic) & many endangered species. It’s time to prove u actually care for Mother Earth. Ur single visit or retweet will help to save hundreds of wildlife creatures in Pilibhit” tweeted @TigerReservePBT.

Divisional forest officer Kailash Prakash said, “We want Salman Khan to set up an example by helping us preserve the beautiful creatures here. We invite the star to visit Pilibhit tiger reserve and see endangered species like tigers, leopards, barking deer, honey badgers, blackbucks and critically endangered birds like Bengal bustards and vultures and many more. Salman’s move to show his love and affection for these animals will undoubtedly double the respect his fans have for him.”

Khan was convicted and sentenced to one-year and five-year prison terms in separate cases of poaching of two Chinkaras at Bhawad and one blackbuck at Ghoda Farm (Mathania) near Jodhpur on the intervening night of September 26-27, 1998 and September 28-29, 1998 respectively. The actor had approached the Rajasthan high court in 2007 which stayed his conviction. However, in a setback to Khan in January this year, the Supreme Court had set aside the high court order. Besides Khan, actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam were also accused of poaching near Jodhpur during the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.

Pilibhit has an encouraging population of blackbucks but the official measures taken for the protection of highly endangered species are not up to the mark here. There have been incidents where blackbucks have been killed by wild dogs or crushed under wheels here. A recent survey found that over 78 blackbucks were present in the grasslands of Lalorikhera and Jahanabad here because of easy availability of water throughout the year here. According to wildlife experts, blackbucks are primary grazers and a higher use of insecticides has posed a threat to their existence.

Gaurav Agarwal, a local wildlife activist who also runs the Pilibhit tiger reserve’s website, said, “The reason we thought of inviting Khan to the tiger reserve is lack of branding that is hurting us. PTR is not known to people in the state, let alone country. The tourism actually helps in conservation of the wildlife as tourists also act as an extra eye for the forest department.”

“Besides, the National Tiger Conservation Authority recently reduced its annual budget allocated to tiger reserves by 27%, due to which the security of PTR was reduced. This has posed a threat to wild animals in the forests,” Agarwal added.

The forests falling under PTR are divided into ranges, which are further divided into sections or beats. There are 52 beats in PTR, and four people are posted as watchers in each of these. These four work on shifts that rotate, guarding the forests day in and day out. There are 40 gatemen and 46 wireless operators.
Against a requirement of Rs 3.65 crore to pay for the salaries of these staffers, the PTR was sanctioned just Rs 2.57 crore this year. As a result, the reserve had to reduce its staff strength to almost half.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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