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Interview of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan to NDTV on the increased Tiger Population

MUMBAI: Veteran Actor and Brand Ambassador for the NDTV-Aircel’s Save Our Tigers Campaign,Amitabh Bachchan, spoke to NDTV on the government’s report on the increase in numbers of the tiger population and said he was always happy to lend his face and voice to such a worthy cause. The 30% increase in the figures has left him all excited. NDTV- Aircel’s Save Our Tigers campaign in its 3rd season is the largest and the most comprehensive media campaign on tiger conservation till date.

Mr. Bachchan also added that the coming together of a lot of important people and associating themselves with the cause created the awareness and helped the figures increase. According to him awareness created by campaigns such as the Save our Tiger’s initiative has been an important factor in creating a huge impact.

AMITABH BACHCHAN TO NDTV ON INCREASE IN TIGERS NUMBERS

NDTV: What is your view regarding tigers in India, its numbers seem to have really increased?

Amitabh Bachchan: I am most excited about this because in the telethon and my association with NDTV, when we worked on the rather depressing figure of the number of tigers in India being reduced to almost 1411, these were the numbers that kind of provoked us to increase it. I am so happy that today we are on 2226 tigers and that’s an incredible increase of almost 30%. I also read that now we are in a situation where we can export tiger cubs to other countries and allow the tiger population to grow. So very excited about it and I am happy to be associated with Save the Tiger campaign and have these wonderful numbers.

NDTV: Other than you and the Tigerothon, what do you think were the steps that really went into getting the numbers up?

Amitabh Bachchan: Apart from the fact of just propagating this idea, there were many other issues, creating the spaces; allowing the space not to be intruded upon to prevent any kind of poachers that came and killed these wonderful animals for medicinal purposes; to provide the rangers who went out in the forests with the proper equipment to fight against these poachers and be able to get rid of them and basically to keep that environment almost as natural as possible, so that the tiger felt at home and he could breathe well.

NDTV: How much do you think this has to do with awareness? Just the fact that we talked so much about the tiger numbers being so low that everyone felt like it was their personal responsibility to…

Amitabh Bachchan: I think awareness is the most important thing. Many people are unaware of many things. It’s a bad simile to use, but I think it had a lot to do with the fact that a lot of important people were talking about it. With this campaign, they were associating themselves, coming together, making these simple factors more comfortable for the tiger to produce more. I think it was a wonderful campaign and I am so happy about that.

NDTV: What’s with the new Prime Minister and his new government, this whole public-private partnership? Do you think that also is something?

Amitabh Bachchan: In many respects, during the Tigerthon, what we really did was we got live confirmations from various states, from state heads on what and in what manner they would contribute to the conservation of the tiger. But at the same time we also got a lot of private people coming in with donations and I think, I am not mistaken, we collected about 2 crore Rupees. All that money went into providing these wonderful rangers who risk their lives against the poachers, giving them the facilities and the equipment and whatever they required. And it went a long way. Somewhere the people who felt close to this campaign in the private world were also responsible in their contribution.

NDTV: I sometimes feel they responded to you, were very keen, just the fact that you were there, sitting…

Amitabh Bachchan: If there are any issues that my face and my voice is going to be responsible for improving conditions, I would be very happy to do that.