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`Tiger Tiger` coming, watch out!



Santanu Sanyal, The Hindu Business Line, Kolkata, 11th April, 2013

TIME magazine called him “the Indiana Jones of Wildlife Protection” and BBC made a documentary on his work. Afer having travelled the world over, Alan Robert Rabinowitz, the world’s leading big cat conservationist and winnerof several international awards, has now set his sight on the Royal Bengal Tiger of Sunderbans.

Thanks to the initiative of Keero Singh Birla, a Canadian citizen of Indian origin, the New York-based White Mountain Films has provided a platform to Alan to feature one of the world’s most ferocious tiger speciesknown for its robustness, speed and adaptability. Alan is to host a feature documentary - Tiger Tiger - on Sunderbans tigers.

For the last few weeks, Alan and his team were in Sunderbans — two-thirds of which is in Bangladesh and one-third in India (West Bengal). After completing the job on the Indian side, the team has crossed over to Bangladesh in a luxury cruise vessel.

Two smaller boats too have been deployed for patrolling in smaller waterways and creeks. On the Indian side of the Sunderbans, the main threat to tigers comes from encroachment on tiger habitat and pressure from growing population; on the wilder Bangladesh side where enforcement infrastructure is lacking, poaching gangs pose a grave threat. Revenge killing, the plight of honey gatherers and fishermen, the villagers’ relationship with tigers, are some of the other problems faced.

Mystical beauty of Sunderbans The film will also try to capture the mystical beauty of the Sunderbans — the shimmering mud banks, the shadowy interior of the forest, the spectacular multi-coloured bird life, the swarm of flying foxes , delicate chital deer, the ferocious cobras, the crocodiles and the large lazily-flapping butterflies.

There are no wildlife corridors for the Sunderban tigers . This leaves a door open to poachers. Yet, Sunderbans offers a lesson on how man and tiger can co-exist. The world await for the final message in Alan’s film.