AIRCEL - NDTV 'Save Our Tigers'
The Tiger is our national animal and one that has been a part of our folklore and history for millennia. Yet this magnificent beast is on the brink of extinction. The Tiger can easily be called as the metaphor for nature, as it is a top predator and its existence ensures a healthy and a sustainable ecological balance. The year 2008 revealed the shocking number that there were just ‘1411' tigers left in India. ‘Save Our Tigers' is a campaign started by Aircel during the latter part of 2008 with an aim to create mass awareness on the plight of this magnificent beast and rally efforts to save it.
Aircel’s tag line to bring alive the cause, ‘Just 1411 left, Save Our Tigers’, hit a chord in the hearts and minds of millions of Indians and evolved into a brand unto itself. People began to rally for the cause and started lending their voices towards it.Our seriousness towards doing our bit to Save Our Tigers has led us to partner with several well-known organizations and individuals to create an impact on ground where it really matters. We work on several projects that encompass capacity building, conflict mitigation and awareness creation. This helps us address issues in 360 degrees and reach out to create maximum impact.
Projects with WWF- India:
Aircel began active on ground support work in 2008 with WWF- India. Post a project- donor match, we conceptualized and put to practice two projects, detailed below:
- Support Initiative Fund - In this project, we worked across all the tiger reserves in the country, extending infrastructure and capacity support on a need basis.
- Conservation of Tigers in Assam: The state of Assam has one of the highest densities of Tiger populations in the country, but also has very high human- animal conflict. We concentrated on capacity building here, carrying out extensive work on training of forest guards in anti-poaching measures, infrastructure buildup within the tiger reserves and in securing corridors.
- Conflict mitigation in Sunderbans: The Sunderbans is known for one of the healthiest Tiger populations, but in the recent years has had an increase in incidents of Human- Animal conflicts due to Habitat destruction along with increase in population. In an attempt to negate this, Aircel along with WWF-India worked in a conflict mitigation project in the Sunderbans. We put into use several solar lamps and a unique technologically advanced trapping cage to capture Tigers that stray into human habitation and thereby prevent harm to them.
Projects with Wildlife Trust of India:
- Conflict mitigation in the Dudhwa Landscape: Launched in May 2013 in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India and theUttar Pradesh Government, this project aims to mitigate human- carnivore conflicts in the Dudhwa Tiger landscape. The Dudhwa landscape houses a good tiger population but is also one that is plagued with increased conflict between man &tigers, besides with other large carnivores. We have developed Primary Response Teams and deployed a Rapid Response Team to work along with the communities to negate conflict in this area.
- Rapid Action Protection in Tamil Nadu: India has 3 of the world’s 32 bio diversity hotspots. The south Indian landscape is one of these. The reserve forests of Tamil Nadu are contiguous to the Nilgiri landscape and are important sanctuaries to various endangered species including the tiger. In this landscape, we extended our support in the following three areas:
- Snare-free forests for Tigers: ‘Anti-snare Walks’ for anti-poaching in Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary:
- Re-Fabrication of Rapid Response Units in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, contiguous to Sathyamangalam
- Equipping forest staff in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, with anti-poaching kits
Partnership with NDTV and Wildlife Conservation Trust:
Reaching the masses with their active participation in Saving Our Tigers has always been a goal of Aircel. It is only when the masses rally for a cause such as this that high impact becomes tangible and realized.
- Aircel along with NDTV, held the 1st and 2nd Save Our Tigers Telethon in 2010 and 2012. Besides the large awareness that it created, over Rs. 10 Cr was donated by the public to work on Tiger conservation. We partnered with the NGO - Wildlife Conservation Trust to implement high impact on ground projects with the funds so generously donated. The projects consisted of developing and deploying Rapid Response Unit vehicles, revamping anti- poaching camps and training of foresters. We have been able to effectively place 41 Rapid Response Units in 35 tiger reserves, train frontline forest guards in various aspects of conservation and revamp over 1167 anti-poaching camps across most tiger reserves.
- Aircel and NDTV recently launched the third season where the six point agendawas identified – existing buffer zones and corridors to be identified; local community involvement; strengthening forest department; human-animal conflict management; zero tolerance to poaching and push for political will.
Besides this, Aircel also celebrated World Tiger Day where
- Citizens came forward to support the signature campaign. These signatures will be taken to the Chief Ministers of the key tiger states requesting them to create roust framework to protect tiger reserves in their respective states.
- Over 4000 school children participated in painting competitions in six cities voicing their support to the Tiger.
Partnership with Sanctuary Asia:
Aircel partnered Sanctuary Asia in 2010 to create awareness and kindle the conservationist mindset amongst our generation next.
- “Kids for Tigers”is a wildlife conservation initiative driven by a national campaign envisioned and implemented by Sanctuary Asia over a decade ago. Conducted in Schools across 15 cities, the program uses the Tiger as a metaphor for all of nature and as a symbol of the environmental health of the habitats in which it is found.
- “Kids for Tigers Express” launched in April 2011 by Jairam Ramesh –Minister of Environment. The KFT Express is a fully equipped edutainment van that traverses the villages around Ranthambhore National Park spreading awareness and importance amongst the communities on the need to Save Our Tigers.