DAY 200: BACK IN INDIA- BUT THIS TIME TO HELP WILDLIFE
I have arrived in Delhi to help wildlife.
I find my bag is missing after having spent a sleepless flight that involved repetitive vomiting somewhere over the Middle East.
I stumble out into the 37C heat in my UK winter jeans – and only pair of underpants – to get a taxi that drives straight into a motorbike and then later gets a ticket for speeding. When I arrive at my hotel I am too tired to argue with the driver when he demands large tip. Watch out tigers, here comes Martin.
What can a man from Hackney do to help the bears when he has a blog and only one pair of pants?
How will he save the tigers and elephants and monkeys of India with a bit of good-will and a nice camera that has no batteries?
Questions that not just you but I am asking.
India – so wonderful but so awful….so good to be back.
As I slump into bed ,the mobile phone that I have picked up at the airport flashes with a ‘RAPE – EMERGENCY’ number that i can call if I need to. Nice to be welcomed like this. It’s only a few weeks since the scandal broke in Delhi of the girl who was attacked by a gang of men. Perhaps all phones have this now. But, India, I feel, is a little like its traffic – changing and flowing at a wild pace but with a threat of a crash at any moment.
The situation with wildlife is not much different.
This subcontinent has the best and worst of wildlife. Which is why I am here to turn my hand at helping.
On the one hand, the expansive forests and wild shrub lands contain he glorious riches of the Bengal tiger, the indian elephant,the sublime leopard, the unsung but wonderful pangolin, the various monkeys, the 274 snakes and so, so much more. On the other hand there is the looming threat of species’ extinction created by an ever growing human population swelling outwards at a frightening pace as well as a burgeoning illegal wildlife trade that tests the limits of human’s cruelty to animals.
I’ll get on to both issues in more detail later on.
‘Wildlife in the wild doesn’t need helping’ says Kartick Satyanarayan, the c0-founder and day-to-day manager of Wildlife SOS with whom I will be working during my stay (and which I’ll also tell you more about later) ‘Wildlife only needs helping when it comes into contact with man’.
That old chestnut. I’m getting the hang of this game. When you want to help animals you got to stop the humans screwing up. But how can I? And what is Kartick doing to help the animals? How bad is it in India really? And will I get another pair of underpants? Frankly, the first time I see a tiger I’ll probably crap myself.
TOMORROW – the wild extremes of the illegal wildlife trade and the work of Wildlife SOS. Showing the way forward. Perhaps I can do something with them.