On International Tiger Day today, actor Dia Mirza has urged people to do more than just “exchanging platitudes”.
“We need to do more than just exchange platitudes about this magnificent and endangered big cat because its habitats continue to shrink and the global tiger population seems to be in perpetual decline,” she says
Mirza is aware of the connection between habitat preservation and tiger conservation and since 2018, has planted over 8313 trees in tiger habitats including Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Ramtek in Maharashtra and Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal.
“It is heartening that in India, the tiger population has grown but because of human-animal conflict, this success story is at peril. [But] We do not seem to understand that continuous threats to wildlife habitats will undermine any conservation work for tigers,” she adds.
The 39-year-old actor, has remained extremely vocal about environmental and wildlife conservation for years now. In 2016, she also directed and produced # KidsForTigers, a Public Service film on International Tiger Day to involve the future generation in conservation initiatives.
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“Obstruction of forest corridors, incessant mining activities, rampant deforestation are making it impossible for tigers to co-exist with humankind.That is why I work with tireless change makers like Bittu Sehgal who has founded Sanctuary Nature Foundation, a nonprofit conservation organization that, among other things, also does habitat management,” she says.
This year, Mirza has urged everyone to take up matters in their own hands, and asked everyone to be a part of the solution. “This year’s theme, “Their survival is in our hands” could not be more relevant. [We need to] understand that we cannot save the tiger without saving our diverse forests. Without protecting biodiversity ranging from tigers to termites, butterflies to bears, we cannot in the end protect ourselves as a race," she says.
“Tiger forests are the birthing grounds for over 300 rivers in India and so their protection is linked to our survival. Protecting our forests and increasing our green cover also happens to be our best hope to counter the worst impacts of climate change and ensure the well-being of our children. We need to leave our self-sustaining ecosystems alone,” she signs off.