Amitabh Bachchan extends support to NDTV's “Save Our Tigers” campaign

New Delhi: A unique 12 hour LIVE programming initiative collected 5.81 crores to SAVE OUR TIGERS as NDTV, in association with Aircel, brought together Brand Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, NDTV’s Prannoy Roy and Vikram Chandra, along with the country’s wildlife and conservation experts, to raise funds for the preservation of our national animal. Joining them in Ranthambore were celebrity lyricist composers and singers Pankaj Udhas, Swanand Kirkire, Kailash Kher and Sunidhi Chauhan.

Contributions to this Cause poured in from across the country, ranging from forest guards salaries, neighbourhood collections by children to corporate, Bollywood personalities and concerned individuals and activists. Among those who generously donated were Hemendra Kothari, Chairman, Wildlife Conservation Trust with 2.5 crore rupees. Corporate donors who came forward to show their support included TATA Consultancy Services, HDFC Limited, Exide Industries Limited, GMR Group, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Housing Company and Shell India. Other donors included Uday Kotak, Ajay and Swati Piramal, Atul Kirloskar, Anu Agha, Nemesh Shah, Dhananjay Mungle, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rajesh Kapadia, Madhu Kapoor, Dia Mirza, Ms Aishwariya, Amit Chandra, Ramesh Chauhan, Surinder Kumar, Chandru Raheja, Anuradha Yadav, Aditya Raman and friends, Deepika Padukone, Dr RS Murthy and the forest guards from Panna and Suhel Seth. Renowned wildlife artist MD Parasher painted a tiger picture during the Telethon which was auctioned by Dr RK Pachauri of TERI pledged to provide solar lamps to 20 training camps.

Also lending their support from around the country were John Abraham, Purab Kohli, Kunal Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Karan Johar and cricketers Zaheer Khan & Yusuf Pathan.

Encouraged by the fantastic response in its first year, where fund were raised for over 40 Rapid Response Units in 30 National Parks and Reserves, the NDTV-Aircel SAVE OUR TIGERS campaign aims to now focus on strengthening protection mechanisms with better equipped Tiger Defence Units, running anti-poaching training camps, and collaborating with NGOs already working at the grass roots level to include local communities in all efforts to Save Our Tigers.

Wildlife conservationists and activists Valmik Thapar, Govardhan Singh Rathore, Belinda Wright, Bittu Sahgal, Anish Dhaneria, Prerna Bindra, Mike Pandey, Ajay Dubey, Ravi Singh, Ratna Shah, Dr Hemendra Kothari, park officials and wildlife experts from Panna, Karnataka, Tadoba and the Head of the National Tiger Conservation Authority Dr Rajesh Gopal joined Brand Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan and NDTV in discussions ranging from poaching problems to taking lessons from successful wildlife tourism management in other countries, and a vision of future park management. Committing their State government efforts to actively protecting this highly endangered animal and national heritage of our country, Chief Ministers Prithviraj Chavan of Maharashtra, Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh, Vijay Bahuguna of Uttarakhand, Bina Kak, Rajasthan’s Environment & Forests Minister, Principal Secretary (Forests) Maharashtra Praveen Pradesi, and senior politicians including BJP President Nitin Gadkari, cut across party lines and committed to framing policies and implementing conservation practices, such as a ban on the manufacture and possession of wire snares and claw traps to increasing buffer zone areas and animal corridors.

As part of the NDTV-Aircel SAVE OUR TIGERS 12 hour LIVE telethon, Defenders of The Wild Awards were presented by Amitabh Bachchan to forest guards from Goa, Assam, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra for their immense bravery and courage in protecting the big cat from poachers. Kids For Tigers melas were organised in Mumbai, Delhi and Sawai Madhopur, where painting competitions, flash mobs and stage performances saw Gen Next sending the powerful message “Save Tigers, if not for you, then for us”.

Committing his time and efforts to furthering this cause, Campaign Ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan said, “Every time you destroy a tiger, you destroy a part of country. I am glad that NDTV has taken an initiative to address this concern. I’m glad to be associated with Save Our Tigers campaign and would like to congratulate the channel for their continuous commitment towards the cause.”

NDTV Chairman, Dr Prannoy Roy said, “We at NDTV are delighted to see the remarkable response to the Save our Tigers campaign. Generous contributions from people across the country reflect how sensitive they are towards the cause and we strongly believe that funds generated through the telethon will bring visible results in preventing tiger poaching.”

Commenting on the initiative Mr. Sandip Das, Director, Aircel added: “We need to leave a legacy behind for our children. The Tiger symbolizes everything we stand for as a country. The Save Our Tiger campaign has made a huge difference by bringing forth not only the issues impacting the national animal but environment and people too. We are extremely honoured and pleased to see the profound impact it has created in the last 3 years.”

Since its inception in 2010 the campaign has been able to generate funds over 50 million rupees.

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