By Apoorvah Sankaran
Venita Coelho is very angry. Do you know why?
Tigers all over are being captured and killed because almost every part of the Tiger’s body is useful, ornamental, and above all extremely valuable in the market.
How do you talk to children about how cruel humans can be and how low man can go when it comes to poaching animals? How do you get children to understand how close we are to losing one of the most beautiful cat species in the world?
Tiger claws extracted for religious purposes, ornamental carpets adorning ostentatious homes, and more; Tiger whiskers for wines and medicines; Tiger’s stuffed and displayed in living rooms for show.
Children aren’t oblivious to the fact that this majestic animal is truly being hunted to the point of extinction. They know it’s high time measures were taken to stop it.
What was most interesting about this session was the way Coelho got children to appreciate the Tiger. She elucidated how these animals are an integral part of some of the most important literary works in the world – from Calvin’s friend Hobbes to Pi’s feline compadre Richard Parker, to Tigger the Tiger, and Mowgli’s nemesis, Sher Khan and more.
This was followed by a Tiger Quiz, to test the kids on lesser-known facts about the Tiger’s characteristics.
By the end of the session kids were scrambling for prizes after the lucky draw. Everybody had enough Tiger Trivia to last a lifetime, and above all – the young audience was clearly more sensitized towards the plight of Tigers in the country.