India Today has a report on "The Missing Tigers" of India's wildlife sanctuaries. Illegal Poaching has depleted Sariska (200 Km off Delhi), India's premier tiger reserve, of its most famous denizen. The tigers have been hunted down (of course, with the help of the local Forestry department and associated government officials. It would be naive to expect otherwise!) for their skins and there are almost no tigers in this reserve now.
There is something nauseating and gruesome about the cold-blooded killing a magnificent beast for the aesthetic value of its skin. The poachers set an iron and steel trap. The tiger unfortunate enough to get caught in it suffers for hours in agony. Then the poacher comes and shoots the tiger through its heart, spills its guts, scrapes the flesh off its skin and bones and takes home his prize. What was once a living, breathing animal is now worth Rs. 8.6 lakhs....
Reminded of Kannadasan's lyrics,
"Paayum puliyin kodumaiyai iraivan paarvaiyil Vaithane..
Indha paazhum manithan kodumaiyai idhaya porvaiyil maraithane.."