New Delhi, Apr 18: Amid reports of RSS batting for a sea change in Indian school text books, there is a possibility that even pass outs will also have to unlearn old facts and learn something new.
The NDA government is reportedly considering a proposal to make the big cat as India's National Animal. If this move is considered then tigers will lose the coveted status they enjoy since 1972.
This news has irked wildlife activists who are of the view that such a bizarre move would dilute the campaign to save tigers and pave the way for clearance of industrial projects near tiger sanctuaries.
The proposal for the same was made by Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Parimal Nathwani, to the environment ministry. It was later passed to the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL), which comes under the ministry. As per the news daily, the NBWL is full of members from Gujarat.
Those against the move are arguing that since tigers are present in as many as 17 states in the country while lions are confined to only Gujarat's Gir Forests.
India is home to more than 2,200 tigers, while there are estimated at 411.
When and why was Tiger adopted as National Animal?
It was in a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife in 1972 that the tiger was adopted as our National Animal in place of the lion.
The reasons for adopting tiger as National Animal were:
- Worldwide importance of the tiger and it being found across the country (presence of a national animal cannot be concentrated in just one or two states);
- Need for its strict protection all over the country;
- Tigers are found in as many as 17 States whereas Lions are found only in 1 State, Gujarat.
Lion - already Modi Govt's favourite
The Narendra Modi government is using 'lion' as a logo in its ambitious Make In India. This clearly shows the Modi government's love for the big cats found in Gujarat. [Modi and his 'Make in India' lion pitch hard for investments]
Activists not in support of this move
As per wildlife activists this move will affect the government's tiger conservation programme which has greatly helped in creating awareness amongst people to save this endangered species.
Some conservationists are of the view that there is a need to shift some Gir lions to other habitats in the country. This will help these big cats to be saved from genetic disorder, epidemic or natural disasters.
Thus, everyone will have to unlearn tiger as National Animal and relearn 'lion' if the government goes ahead with the proposal.