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Tiger Tales – The Untold Miseries of Tigers in India


Thanks to Aircel – “Save our Tigers” campaign, we at least got to know that there are only 1411 tigers left in India. A majestic animal found abundantly in our country is now on the verge of being endangered. When you lookup for the word “wild animals” on the internet, lions and tigers top the list. Wild animals are called so because they cannot be tamed and cause potential threats to humankind. On the contrary, can you imagine a situation where humankind poses a threat to these wild animals? Can you believe that tigers run into their dens, fearing humans?

It is universally accepted that tigers kill humans and other animals. But they do so only for their survival. Tigers don’t kill for pleasure. They don’t kill to express their dominance. They don’t kill without a purpose. But we humans do. There were 40,000 tigers in our country at the beginning of the twentieth century, i.e. 1900. But right now, there are only 1411 tigers left. This decrease in the number of tigers is a consequence of ruthless hunting and poaching adopted by the Mughal emperors and the British who ruled India over the years.

The killing of a mature male leads to the destruction of reproduction for an entire community of tigers. But poachers always considered killing old male tigers as an expression of their heroism and dominance over others. On the 12th of December, 1911, George V, along with King Wales, went on a hunting party to the Himalayas foot in Nepal under the local king’s guidance, Rana. King Rana arranged for a camp at the desired location. This camp housed 14,000 soldiers, 300 elephants and abundant arms for the hunting party.

Lord Curzon and his wife Mary Curzon with the tiger they poached.

Two or three days before the hunting, these hunters mixed mustard oil and rubber into the water bodies from which the tigers drank from. Mustard oil and rubber stuck to their mouths when they consumed water out of these bodies. The tigers then use their paws to wipe themselves, which results in the spreading of oil to their eyes and hence the loss of their eyesight. These tigers are forced out of their habitat by setting fire to the grass around their dens (or) encircling them with elephants and armed forces. The hunting party killed over 39 tigers in a period of five days.

This is not confined to tigers alone. It extends to killing rhinos, elephants and deer as well. Statistics says that only 20% of these animals are alive today. Emperor Jahangir has killed 28,532 tigers, Raja Raguraj Singh 91 tigers, Raja Bhavadev 121 tigers and Raja Gulab Singh 616 tigers in a similar fashion. This left behind 1800 tigers, according to a census taken in 1973.

God created this world with millions and millions of living organisms, and each one of them is an essential component required to maintain a balance in the environment. How tigers we think might not be of any use to us, we might also not be of any use to them. So, the next time we do something that harms the environment or any other living organism, we need to keep in mind that “the world does not belong to us; we are only a small part of it”.



Sruthi Muthu

I am Sruthi, a Bio-medical Engineering stud at SSN College of Engineering at Chennai. Passionate about reading, writing, craft and doodling. Great foodie, constantly in search of restaurants. Any comments, mail me at sruthimuthu@gmail.com.




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