Amit Masurkar’s recent release Sherni drew our attention towards the plight of tigers in the country, making us realise the role we play in their declining numbers. On ground, actor-producer Dia Mirza has been continually working towards habitat preservation and tiger conservation. Since 2018, the eco-warrior has planted over 8,313 trees in tiger habitats, including Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Ramtek in Maharashtra and Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal.
On International Tiger Day today, the actor says that while it is heartening to see that the big cats’ population has increased in India, their conservation is at risk due to rampant deforestation. “We do not seem to understand that continuous threats to wildlife habitats will undermine our conservation work. It is time to save our national animal, and we cannot save the tiger without saving our diverse forests,” asserts Mirza, who has been working with non-profit organisation Sanctuary Nature Foundation.
Vidya Balan in Sherni
Even as we take giant strides in development, the actor warns that we must pause and notice whether it is at the expense of the environment. “Obstruction of forest corridors, incessant mining activities and rampant deforestation are making it impossible for tigers to co-exist with humankind. We must remember that tiger forests are the birthing grounds for over 300 rivers in India, so their protection is linked to our survival. Highways at the expense of trees, and settlements within protected zones are all self-defeating in the end. It is time to dial back this greed.”