It is saddening to reveal the fact that Peter Jackson, the man who played a pivotal role in conserving and protecting tigers in India in the 1970’s is no more. It is even more astonishing to notice the fact that his death has gone totally unnoticed in our country as he has done so much for it when he was here. He has had a lifelong association with India whilst contributing to the nature conservation in Haryana and Gujarat. It was early in the 1950s when Jackson first visited India. As time passed by, he became the secretary of the Delhi Bird Watching Society where Indira Gandhi was one of the founding members of the organization. We know how Indira Gandhi became interested in birds when she was jailed in 1942-1943. He was also a very close friend of Indira Gandhi as he had been involved in the protection of Sultanpur Jheel. After this, Jackson left India around 1975 to join the WWF in Switzerland. But, this did not cut his tied with India.
He kept making regular visits to India. After a decade, he visited Porbandar, where he spotted a snake and less flamingos over a river. When he came to know that the lake was to be renovated to construct a park, he immediately contacted Indira Gandhi to make sure it wouldn’t happen. Gandhi respected their friendship and immediately called off the project. He was also behind WWF’s Operation Tiger that was initiated to support Project Tiger started by India in 1973. He was the main reason for conservation of tigers in that time period.
What hurts the most is the fact that his death has gone unnoticed in our country. Why did this happen? Was this because he was a foreigner? No. It is just because we forget to value our diverse culture and the other animals alongside us. For us, saving tigers is just a news. For some people like Peter Jackson, this means the world. He has taken over the responsibility of a 1000 Indians and it is high time we pay our respects to him, May his soul rest in peace!
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