Suhas Kumar has had a good innings as an Indian Forest Service officer in the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh. He has closely watched and managed wildlife for long years. He served as Principal Chief Conservator Forest and has distingushed himself as a wildlife expert, who worked ceaselessly with conviction and whose mission to this day remains conservation. In February 2009, he wrote a poem that puts the spotlight on the magnificent Tiger and the glory of Kanha Tiger Reserve. He has a word of caution against reckless tourism and leaves a strong message for tourists entering the tiger habitat only to watch the tiger in the wild. We are reproducing Suhas Kumar’s poem here.
Let the TIGER be the master of the jungle
Not a slave of man
There are lot many creatures here –
Plants, birds, beasts, amphibians and reptiles
Beautiful insects and butterflies
They make the jungle live
And that’s why
Here the tigers thrive.
To immerse yourselves in the MAGIC that KANHA has to offer
You will be a different man, woman and child
When you return home
With memories of this NATURE’S MAGNIFICENT COFFER.
Your desire to see a wild tiger
Is very strong
Keeping tigers at bay
You think, is wrong
When you spot a tiger from elephant back
Surrounded by gawking tourists
Elephants, jeeps and cars
You may get thrilled – for once.
But when you would return
You are bound to feel very sad
For the master
Now a slave of man’s caprice and greed.
Let the TIGER’S freedom prevail he will show up near you when would feel,
A true tiger is a beast of free will
Why force him
To behave otherwise to serve man’s thrill
Kanha is not a zoo where tigers walk behind bar
but a land UNTAMED AND WILD
Here tigers roam wide and far
Let it remain that grand
Just engross yourself in this FASCINATING LAND.
Suhas Kumar, who retired as Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, has spent almost 25 years managing, supervising, and guiding the management and training of officers and staff of national parks, sanctuaries, and tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh. He is a trained wildlife manager, a law graduate, and holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Ecology discipline in the field of ecotourism in protected areas. He has also acquired some knowledge and training in nature interpretation and ecotourism from the US, the UK, and Australia. He is a member of Chhattisgarh State Board for Wildlife, WWF-India’s State Advisory Board for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the Governing Body and Governing Council of National Centre for Human Settlement and Environment, Bhopal. He is also a member of the Delhi Biodiversity Society. Earlier, he had served as the chairman of the Research Advisory Committee of the M.P. State Biodiversity Development Board and member of Madhya Pradesh State Board for Wildlife for two terms. He was the chairman of one of the evaluation teams constituted by NTCA in 2017-18 for 13 tiger reserves of the country.