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| Last Updated:12/09/2020

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Tiger Safari (Nov)

The Indian Express, New Delhi, 1st November, 2013
Correspondent : Ardhra Nair
Much before the Wildlife Protection Act was introduced in India, city-based Anant Zanjale was a passionate hunter and possessed both Big Game and Small Game licences that were issued by the government. Once, when he was on a hunting trip at Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh, he sighted a Royal Bengal Tiger walking in front. "The sight of this animal was breathtaking; it transformed me from a hunter to a saviour," recalls 58-year-old Zanjale, now a wildlife photographer.
Zanjale has taken up a unique project under which he will be visiting all 44 Project Tiger Reserves (PTRs) in the country and two in Nepal to chronicle the lives of the people living in these areas, and spreading awareness about the importance of saving tigers. Also on the cards is a book and a film, which will talk about the area-specific challenges and achievements done by the local populace.
"There are very few people who know that there are 46 PTRs. Tigers are on the top of the food chain and if they become extinct, then our own survival will be on tenterhooks, as well," says Zanjale, adding that his aim is not to count the total number of tigers in these reserves. "There are already many organisations working on that. I want to interact with all the stakeholders involved in the business of protecting tigers, including top forest officials, forest guards and tribal population living in the jungles. These interactions will provide me with the challenges that each group faces and highlight the positive changes they have brought about," says Zanjale.
An agriculturist by profession, Zanjale hails from Velha taluka in Pune district. He has been a wildlife photographer for the past 30 years and has won nine gold stars and 51 silver stars in the BBC wildlife photography competitions.
Zanjale will begin his expedition on November 9. He has divided the journey into nine phases, beginning with Guwahati and the PTRs in the eastern region. The whole expedition, he says, is likely to take three years to complete. He will cover almost 35,000 kilometers which includes 17 states, 10 major mountain ranges and six major river basins.
"The need of the hour is to ensure that the surviving tigers are protected along with their habitat and ecosystem and to increase their numbers to a healthier level. Together, we all can do this," adds Zanjale, who has already been approached by various international channels for the airing rights of his films