I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak,
Till the deaf world's ears be made to hear, The wrongs of the wordless weak.
It was a Sunday morning in the month of April 1999. Suddenly some animal activists, with the help of police, raided a local live-stock market where many birds of Indian species were being sold, many of those are in the schedule of endangered animals' list of the Indian Wildlife Act of 1972. In this Act it is clearly mentioned that,all those who sell, buy or keep scheduled animals or birds are equally guilty. but until that day, the illegal trade in wild life was going on openly in Galiff Street live stock market, in North Calcutta. [Caged Fascinations>]. Calcuttans wondered,.. who ordered a stop to this illegal trade & took the necessary action against those traders ! It was Mr. Dinesh Chandra Vajpai , IPS, the then Commissioner of Police, Calcutta. Mr. Vajpai has retired as the Director General of Police, West Bengal.
Mr. Dinesh Ch. Vajpai I.P.S.
|FOLLOW YOUR HEART|
Goodall needs no introduction. One of the world's
greatest conservationists, she has studied the chimpanzees of
Dr Goodall has received numerous prizes, among them the John Paul Getty
Prize for Wildlife Conservation, the Gandhi/KingAward for NonViolence, the
French Legion d'honneur and Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of
London. In 2002, she was named as a United Nations Messenger of Peace by
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Ms.Jane Goodall & Mr.Hope
Could you please tell us something about this trip?
A. This is my second visit to
Q. What do you think about the cultural ethos of animal protection in this country?
Q. Human animal conflict is on the rise everywhere in
A. This is a difficult issue and there is no single black and white answer. There are too many people on this planet. One of the good aspects of the higher primates is that they have zero population growth. We could learn a lot from that. People living in fringe areas of forests have to be helped so that they protect the animals rather than destroy them. We do this in the TACARE(Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education) project in
Q. Please tell us something about your doll, Mr H?
A. He was given to me by Gary Haun, a blind magician who is an amazing person.
Q. What are your views on great apes in zoos?
A. I am not against keeping animals in zoos. There are good zoos and bad zoos. I sometimes think the chimpanzees in good zoos are better off than their cousins in the wild who are under constant threat of hunting for the bushmeat trade.
Q. But the Great Ape Project that seeks to provide great apes with the rights to life, liberty and freedom from torture would preclude the acceptance of these animals being kept in captivity, wouldn't it?
A. Theoretically yes. But one has to realize that even after the UN passage of the Human Rights Charter, there are gross human rights violations all over the world. The developed countries are as guilty of these violations as the developing and the underdeveloped world. The ideal of the Great Ape Project would not vanish the situation we have for great apes in captivity as it presently exists. We have to work gradually towards attainment of that ideal and do whatever we can to help the animals that are presently in captivity. Our Chimpanzoo project tries to achieve exactly that.
Q. What are your impressions of Kolkata Zoo?
A. I was particularly saddened to see so many of the animals alone. There seems to be little educational material, and supervision of the staff was very lax or quite non existent while I was there. I was particularly disturbed by a large group of students who were jeering the big cats in their cages. If a zoo has captive wildlife, then they also have a duty to ensure that they have the best possible captive life. They also have a wonderful opportunity to educate visitors so that they can learn about these amazing beings and their natural habitat and so to care more for the wild animals which
p to 37 years- in fact they can live for more than 65 years in captivity. Why are the big cats kept in solitary confinement? Why do most of them have no way of moving up off the ground-which is particularly important for leopards who do not spend time on the ground. The enclosures are bleak, sterile and completely inappropriate. The monkeys are bored. We know how intelligent parrots are. The birds need things to occupy them. More branches for climbing about on, and a variety of things hung on the branches they can interact with.
Q. What are your principal concerns in the Roots and Shoots programme?
A. We focus on three areas, people, animals and the environment. Children decide to take up a project of their choice. They can help the homeless and destitute people in need of attention, care for stray animals and there are so many street dogs in
Q. Do you plan to start a Roots and Groups group in
A. I have never planned for setting up Roots and Shoots groups. It has always been an individual who has come over and expressed his eagerness to start such a group in his locality. I guess we are awaiting the arrival of such individuals in
Q. What animal cruelty issues disturb you the most?
A. Animals in laboratories, the bushmeat trade and factory farming distress me. There are any number of other issues but I have to prioritize my efforts to be effective.
Q. What are your views on the use of animal products?
A. We should try to adopt a lifestyle that moves away from cruelty.
Q. Indian students very often feel overwhelmed by exams and adults are caught up in the relentless effort to obtain a living. How could they do something beyond their immediate needs to help animals and the environment?
A. I recognize people may be working under duress and they have to earn a living but I have always encouraged people to follow their heart. No matter what situation you are in you can make a difference. IT IS POSSIBLE.