New Delhi: Former beauty queen and actress Dia Mirza, who has voiced her concern about the environment on several occasions, has involved herself closely with the ‘Save Our Tigers’ campaign, backed by NDTV and Aircel.
On World Tiger Day, which was on Monday, Dia was here to celebrate the increase in the tiger population in the country. She says she was persistent in asking Bittu Sahgal, founding editor of environmental news magazine Sanctuary Asia, to give her a bigger role in saving tigers.
“It was a few years ago when Aircel launched the campaign ‘Save our Tigers’ on NDTV that I became familiar with the work of people like Bittu Sahgal. What was a childhood passion, kind of resurfaced and I plagued Bittu Sahgal to give me a bigger role and make me more involved with the work that needs to be done,” Dia told IANS while talking about her involvement with the campaign.
“Now I do school visits and forest visits with ‘Kids For Tigers’…there is a lot of work happening now in creating communication tools to spread this message further — to take it not just to school children, but also to industries, corporates, media and help people understand that it’s not just about saving the tiger, but tiger is a metaphor for saving all life,” she added.
The event here saw a panel discussion hosted by Vikram Chandra, Group CEO of NDTV channel, and Swati Thiyagarajan, environment editor, NDTV.
Apart from Dia, the panelists included Bittu Sahgal, Anish Andheria, president, Wildlife Conservation Trust, Vivek Menon, CEO, Wildlife Trust of India, Bishan Singh Bonal, member secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Y.V. Jhala and Qamar Qureshi from the Wildlife Institute of India.
“India is home to 70 percent of the world’s tigers today. We have had a 30 percent increase in the number of tigers in the last five years. The dismal numbers 1,411 in the first updated census became the rallying cry of the first NDTV-Aircel ‘Save Our Tigers’ campaign in 2010. Now it is 2226 in our fourth campaign,” said Chandra.
The event also saw the felicitation of eight people to acknowledge their contribution in saving tigers from poaching in wildlife reserves of Arunachal Pradesh, Kashmir and Orissa.
Adding a musical touch to the event was singer Kailash Kher, who crooned tracks like “Teri deewani”, “Tauba tauba” and a track from his latest album “Rangeele” along with his band Kailasa.