Two wild Tigers get 'Lifetime Achievement Award'
Published on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 21:20
Updated on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 21:23
Travel Operators for Tigers (TOFT) Lifetime Achievement Awards will be made on Friday night to Ranthambhore's famous tigress Machali and Bandavgarh's celerity male Tiger, known as B2 (or Sundar) in recognition of their star pulling power in Ranthambhore and Bandavgarh Tiger Reserves.
The two tigers - though not personally accepting the awards - with be given the prize at the launch of the TOFT Wildlife Tourism Awards, being held at the British High Commissioner's Residence in Delhi.
"They are multi-million dollar earners but it isn't a business award they are being given but an environmental one" says TOFT founder, Julian Matthews.
"Machali herself earns as much as a top cricketer or Bollywood actress, and it's critical to recognise these extraordinary economic benefits that come from saving her species in the wild. She literally provides livelihoods for thousands of people from forest guards to wildlife guides, drivers to hoteliers!"
TOFT has calculated that the extraordinary pulling power of Machali has earned nearly US$100 million (48000 crores) for the Indian Economy since she became a dominant resident female in the Tourism zone of Ranthambhore in 1998 as well as bringing up 11 cubs, two of whom are now in Sariska NP. Like all good stars she even has a Facebook page, has been seen by over 150000 visitors and millions on TV across the globe.
B2 in Bandavgarh is also an extraordinary tiger. He has sired over 35 tigers, 90% of which lived to adulthood, an extraordinary high ratio itself thanks to the protection he has been able to afford his many lovers! The sizable majority of tigers living in Bandhavgarh today are his sons and daughters. As Head of the family business, B2 has been estimated to have earned US$30m over his 7 year reign in the Tala Tourism range.
There is an old maxim - if it pays it stays - and these two tigers justify the extraordinary efforts and costs that going into preserving her, her kin and her forest habitat.
Julian Matthews continues: "The award is being made to two tigers tonight but of course it is also very much in recognition of the hard work and dedication of all the Park staff - forest guards, wildlife and forest officers and administrators over many years. So to all of these people let us all say a big thank you."
Accepting the Award on behalf of Machali is Ranthambhore's Field Director, Shafaat Hussain, and his colleague Mr Shekawhat, DFO.
TOFT India Director, Abhishek Behl, added: "These awards mark the launch of a new Annual Award we are running to highlight the work of all those involved who are using the wildlife tourism industry, its entrepreneurship, manpower and visitors most effectively to support conservation and restore wildlife habitat. It will reward best practice and sustainability across the lodge community, enhance cooperation and partnership with parks, motivate guides and guards and highlight the best community tourism initiatives wherever they are found. This is an exciting time for wildlife tourism, it has an extraordinary potential to be a major force for good in helping protect the tiger and we know these TOFT Wildlife Tourism Awards will become a key event in the Wildlife Tourism and Conservation calendar."