Posted by: John Elliott | December 23, 2010

Arty tigers raise awareness about saving iconic animals

 

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Just in time to brighten up the city for Christmas and New Year celebrations, a ‘herd’ of colourful life-size fibreglass tigers are appearing around Delhi, emulating the Elephant Parade that adorned the streets of London in the summer. 
 
Currently on public display at Rashtrapati Bhawan (the presidential palace), they will go next week to various locations for three months.
 
Called Art for Tiger, this is a charity campaign that aims to raise awareness of the plight of the tiger, and generate funds for the Ranthambhore Foundation which does good works around Ranthambhore national park. 

 

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No-one knows how many tigers there are left in India, and poaching is rampant. The last official census in 2006-07 produced 1,165 at the low end and 1,657 at the top, and has been averaged out as 1,400, but the total is probably lower now.

Painted in a huge variety of styles and colours by well-known artists who include Anjolie Ela Menon, Paresh Maity, and Farhad Husain, the tigers have been acquired by 58 companies and other organisations for donations of Rs150,000 ($3,300). About half the Rs8.7m (nearly $200,000) raised will go to the trust, after payments to the artists and other costs.

 

WPSI's elephant in London's Green Park

Saving wildlife from a seemingly relentless path to extinction has suddenly become fashionable and socially acceptable. A week or so ago, the Indian tv station NDTV broadcast a 12-hour Telethon with film star Amitabh Bachchan as the Save the Tiger brand ambassador and others. This raised Rs48.6m (just over $1m) to finance rapid response teams for tiger emergencies.

London’s elegant Elephant Parade raised £4m ($6.2m) after the sculptures were auctioned, and the bulk of the proceeds went to various Asian Elephant conservation organisations.

The Art for Tiger organisers, led by Swapan Seth, who runs an advertising agency, Aparajita Jain of Delhi’s Seven Arts Gallery, and Nandita Baig, a social activist, now plan to stage events in other Indian cities with more ambitious fund-raising targets.
 
 

Elephant in Bond Street

Belinda Wright, founder director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), which received funds from the London elephant auction, is glad that conservation is becoming socially acceptable and even fashionable “providing the fireworks are reflected in positive action on the ground”.

“Through all the glitz, hopefully messages of substance are making people stop and think about important environmental issues, including the terrible consequences of loosing iconic species such as the tiger and elephant”.

That’s a good message for the New Year –

                              Merry Christmas!

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Responses

  1. John, that was a heartwarming article. Good luck to all those who have got involved and we shall certainly be around to support this good cause. Vinu

  2. But where is the tigers n other artists works?????its more like promoting people more than Tiger!!!!!

  3. Thank you John for your deeply kind words.
    Yes, the coming together of the generous, the gifted and the Government is indeed heartening. What is particularly humblings is the fact that this will be ipso facto, the first large public art project in India. The money raised will be deployed to educate the children, impart certain skills to the people around he Park as well as to buy vehicles and fuel to allow people from the Foundation to go ino the jungle and rescue the cats in danger. Thank you for being there at our significant moment.


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