31 July 2010

Cheetahs in India

If I'm to believe my local paper, and there's no reason for me not to, it seems cheetahs will be returned to India.

I'm excited and nervous about this story! We were in India a couple of years ago and spent three days trying to find tigers. While we saw paw prints and scratching marks, and monkeys on high alert, we didn't see any tigers. We've spent some time in Africa on safari, so know that is the luck of the draw. But somehow safari in India just doesn't seem as well organised or to be taken as seriously as in Africa and I fear humans and wildlife do not mix.

Habitat destruction in India, is bound to be far greater than in Africa.
I don't know the numbers, so I am going purely from speculation and experience here but safaris in Africa - we spent time in Kenya and Tanzania - seem to be a far greater attraction for travellers and tourists than safaris in India. Poaching is still a huge problem in Africa, but the authorities know the value of the tourism dollar and are trying to overcome the problem - there are wildlife sanctuaries throughout Africa, and indeed you just need to look at the photos from our recent trip to Kenya (seen here in earlier posts) to see that you can indeed see many lions and rhinos (both of which are threatened by poachers) if you are lucky.

I know people have seen tigers in India, indeed we met two Australians in Ramnagar who that day had been charged by a tiger at Byrjani Reserve - we know they were telling the truth, we saw the photos! But people go to India for many things - the Ganges, the culture, the beaches, the buildings - few seem to go for safari.

And so, how protected will the cheetahs be in India? India is taking in 18 cheetahs, at a cost of $900,000, from Iran, Namibia and South Africa. Let's hope they are well looked after this time and that number actually rises!

No comments: