Bachchan, Tendulkar urged to help protect tigers

Mumbai, Aug 4 (IANS) In a bid to increase the tiger population, the Maharashtra government wants Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar to be ‘brand ambassadors’ for a tiger project.

Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said he wrote to the two on July 29 — World Tiger Day — seeking their participation in the programme.

“We have not received any reply. Very soon I shall meet them and solicit their cooperation,” Mungantiwar told IANS.

“We want them to be brand ambassadors for this initiative. I have also invited Bachchan and Tendulkar to visit the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Sanctuary in my home district Chandrapur,” he told the media earlier.

Addressing a function on Tuesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis urged people and the forest management to support the initiative.

“Tiger projects are not liabilities but are real assets for the people and the government. Let us come together and unite to protect tigers,” he said.

Maharashtra has five tiger sanctuaries, followed by Madhya Pradesh’s four, Chhattisgarh’s three and Telangana’s one.

Maharashtra has asked the central government to allocate special funds to conserve and protect the big cats in these four states.

The minister pointed out that Vidarbha had the potential to become the ‘tiger capital’ of the country, with its tiger population rising from 169 in 2006 to 190 in 2014. India is home to 2,226 tigers.

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