Big B, John in Madhya Pradesh to save tigers

Sunday, December 12, 2010

BHOPAL - Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit the Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh to participate in the Save Our Tigers campaign. He feels the cause is more important than his films.

“The tiger’s cause is more important than my films. Kids should start tiger clubs and create awareness,” Big B, 68, who is busy with a telethon for the Save Our Tigers campaign, told a TV channel.

Big B and John Abraham, who often associates himself with social causes, arrived Saturday evening and will stay in Pench till Dec 13, said a Pench official.

Talking about his participation, Amitabh said in a message on his blog: “Tomorrow (Sunday) starts the Telethon for the Save the Tiger campaign. There is a desire and hope to collect as much money as one can for the benefit of those that manage and look after these regal animals and prevent them from being poached and destroyed.”

Pench Deputy Director O.P. Tiwari said the two actors will take part in the programmes related to the campaign on wild cats, whose number in the country stands at 1,411.

He said Pench was among the best reserves in the area of tiger conservation and that may be the reason why the campaign’s organizers and Bachchan chose it for their programmes.

“In a survey by project tiger group in 2007, Pench was (rated the) second best after Kanha reserve in Madhya Pradesh as far as tiger conservation is concerned in India,” Tiwari told IANS.

“It is small, but its landscape is beautiful. And it is also on the border of Maharashtra so a busy film star like Amitabh would prefer to come here,” he said.

Spread over 758 square kilometre, Pench is among the six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh and is the original setting of Rudyard Kipling’s most famous work, “The Jungle Book”.

It has 25-39 tigers according to the 2006 census.

Earlier this year, a big cat and two cubs were found dead in the reserve. Officials claimed the tiger was killed in a fight with another cat. They said the cubs died of pneumonia, which can afflict any wild animal.

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