Content, Idea and Concept by: Ashapurna Das, Blog Team-TOHRI
Edited and Re-worked by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern-TOHRI
"Mumma will they take us just like they took papa away?",said the little brown cub, Lapa.
Lapa was a cub in the small streak of tigers that lived in the great Sundarbans in West Bengal. He, along with his mother and siblings managed to survive just as the other 279 tigers.
To his question, mother, Reva had nothing to say. She remembered the day Tulsi, her husband fought for his life and told her to run away with the cubs. Shot in the middle of their hunting, Reva dared not to let her cubs walk alone in the darkness of a moonless night. Lapa was the youngest and the most curious cub among his siblings. He was the favourite amongst all the adult tigers and everyone was quite familiar with his mischievous nature . Regardless of being warned by his mother Reva a hundred times, Lapa went on his journey of exploration without permission. Reva would get worried; she only wanted to fulfill the last wish of her husband.
Lapa like other days sneaked out of his afternoon nap for his mischievous escape. He wanted to explore the environment, hunt like the adults, roar like his dad and find food for his mother. The little cub had realised that it was time for him to grow up, but was it too soon?
After wandering for more than two hours Lapa realised that he lost his way back home. There were no sight of tigers and not a soul could be found . It was an eerily silent place in the forest. He started to panic. Lapa ran here and there but he couldn't find any other tiger or cub, neither could he trace his way back home. The real trouble started when he could hear the rustling of leaves right behind him. Scared as he was, he turned around only to see 3 men armed with guns pointing at him. He recalled his mother telling him the story of 'monsters in human flesh'. He ran away as fast as he could, directionless.. The men chased him without fail, Lapa dared not to look back and kept running. After running for almost a mile, he heard a loud noise. Someone had been shot, but who was it? From his hiding he saw a tigress bleeding, it was his mother. The three men took his mother's corpse back to their truck. Lapa was shocked and heartbroken. He had experienced his worst nightmare. Walking along the way and still not knowing where to go he soon discovered small pieces of round rocks. He remembered what his mother said to him once " If you ever get lost, round pebbles will help you find your way home. But if you ever lose me, my darling, know that I raised you to be as strong as the pebbles below your paw."
Like Lapa, many other small cubs lost their parents in a one sided war. A war between humans and animals which started years ago as a leisure time fun-activity; hunting of animals was a hobby not many fancied, but with time it became more of a status symbol. Hunting of tigers grew substantially and things worsened before anyone could notice. We call it extinction. Tigers, considered one of the most strongest, fearless animals that were naturally a threat to all kinds of other animals were now a victim of human threat. Once a fierce dynasty was now a small clan losing its members every now and then for the evil greeds of mankind.