[ON MY WAR PATH – 012 – Saving Tigers in India 02]
After the success of my first Indian trip, CIDA rewarded WCWC with a 3-year program grant at $100,000 a year. The rule had it, as it did the 1997 1-year project grant, that we had to split the grant 40/60 with a “Southern Partner”, and we selected Tiger Trust, founded by the late great tiger preservationist Kailash Sankhala.
In mid-1997, Omni Film Company, producer of the perennial TV documentary series [Champions of The Wild] shown on Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Knowledge Network in 20 countries worldwide, which featured one endangered species per episode and the preservationist who championed its survival cause,
contacted me and invited me to be their “Champion of the Bengal Tiger”. At their expense I went on another trip for the purpose of “starring in” the episode. This was one of the most enjoyable trips I have ever taken till then and since.
In December 1997, I flew over to India with Omni Film’s producer Michael Chechik and writer/director Andrew Gardner, with whom I spent about a month at Bandhavgrah National Park, filming tigers, villagers, and me performing various tasks with both.
During this month, I spent a lot of time in the territory of the world famous tiger Charger and the sub-territory of tigress Sita and her 7th litter of cubs. That was the first time I had the chance of getting to know them, and they me. A few times Charged walked right up to the tailgate of the Gypsy, well within touching distance of him.
Charger was so named due to his curious tendency to mock-charge tourist vehicles, then come to a screeching halt within ten feet of the tourists who by then would be screaming in the mushrooming cloud of red dust in Charger’s much more dignified departure.
Sita, on the other is much more shy and secretive, especially with her new litter of cubs. It took all my patience to get finally the shot of her I wanted, which I consider my best tiger picture ever.
I also did what Andrew Gardner dubbed my “Sermon on The Mound”, which has been “immortalized” in a pic showing it on TV in front of a hallful of school children.
Speaking of children, I had a heart-melting experience that brought me to tears, but after the fact. I was with the film crew, driving past a Kanha village. There were children lining the road chanting “Bagh Cha Cha! Bagh Cha Cha!” Only after I had driven past the village did Faiyaz tell me that “Bagh Cha Cha” meant “Tiger Uncle”.
The rest of the year, I conducted more education outreach, and prepared for my third trip to India in 1999
Bear Hunting Foe Attacked in City
The Vancouver Sun
by Stephen Hume
BC environmentalist Anthony Marr is recovering after being beaten by a burly man who said, “Let this be a lesson to you.”
An environmentalist known for his opposition to bear hunting and the black market for animal parts was recovering Tuesday after being attacked in Vancouver’s West End.
Anthony Marr said he was waylaid about 7:30 p.m. Monday in the 1600 block of Haro Street as he made his way to his car after a dinner with his parents at their home.
Environmental groups have been complaining about a sharp increase in threats of physical violence directed at their members…
“I was parked in the lane”, Marr said. “There was this guy waiting for me by my car. He advanced a few steps and said, ‘Are you Anthony Marr?’ I said yes and he immediately launched his attack.”
Marr… said his assailant was “over six feet and around 200 pounds” and rained blows upon his head and face, fracturing facial bones and damaging his eye socket.
“Then he said, ‘Let this be a lesson to you,’ and walked off,” Marr said.
The University of British Columbia Hospital confirmed that Marr was admitted and treated in the emergency ward shortly after 7:30 p.m.. Vancouver city police confirmed receiving his report of the attack about 8:40 p.m..
Marr recently led a controversial and widely publicized Western Canada Wilderness Committee campaign to have bear hunting banned in BC.
He has also been active in successfully pressuring government for controls in the black market on endangered species parts in the Asian community…
Marr’s silver 1993 Mazda sports car and its license plate became well known during the anti-hunting campaign, he says.
Marr drove 12,000 kilometers and visited almost every significant community in BC during the summer of 1996, holding public and private meetings that laid the groundwork for a province-wide initiative petition towards driving a referendum vote on banning bear hunting.
Campaigners obtained 93,000 signatures in a 90-day blitz that mobilized 1,800 volunteers, but fell well short of the 250,000 or 10 percent of the electorate – needed to force government action under recall and initiative legislation.
The petition campaign, however, gave Marr a high media profile.
He said he was constantly harassed by pro-hunting (forces). Pickup trucks tailgated his car and he received anonymous threats of violence by phone.
“My reaction is that it merely strengthens my resolve to continue with this campaign…”
Paul George, a director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, described the attack on Marr as “deplorable” and said it was time for police and government to take seriously the “threats of violence and all the rhetoric that our people are subjected to.”
“I think this [violent rhetoric] unleashes hate against environmentalists just as much as it does against Jews or people of a different sexual persuasion or anything like that,” George said.
1998-01-31 Sing Tao Daily (Chinese), global
[The next Year of the Tiger may see no more wild tigers]
“… Anthony Marr calls upon all Chinese, Japanese and Korean people around the world to stop using tiger bone, bear gall and rhino horn medicines…”
1998-01-31 Ming Pao Daily (Chinese), global
[Tigers may be extinct within one decade]
“… Anthony Marr speaks out from the Year of the Tiger booth at Aberdeen Centre…”
1998-02-24-2 The News, Parksville – Qualicum Beach, BC
[WCWC’s Bear Man returns to QB]
“Anthony Marr will be in Qualicum Beach next Tuesday, presenting slides of his two recent trips to India…
“Marr has stirred up a media storm…
“Marr will be ‘Champions of the Tiger’ in Omni-Film’s Champions of the Wild series on Discovery Channel this fall…”
1998-02-24-2 Comox Valley Echo
[Saving the Tiger theme for slideshow]
“… Please come out to witness the beauty of these magnificent animals and celebrate the ray of hope that Anthony brings us.”
1998-02- The Free Press, Nanaimo, BC
[“Champion of the Tiger” visits]
“The ‘Champion of the Tiger’ will share his story with Nanaimo…
“The slideshow starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Maffeo-Sutton auditorium… on March 5…”
1998-02-27-5 The Comox Valley Record
[Tigers in danger]
“WCWC hopes all to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Tiger with Anthony Marr…”
1998-03 Technocracy Digest by Bette Hiebert
[The Year of the Tiger – so, why are they killing them?]
“For money, of course…
“Anthony Marr… is on his way to challenge the East Asian destroyers in their lairs, to confront these people who are making millions killing these beautiful cats…
“Mr. Marr believes that if we commit to the Earth our heart and soul, our children may see a new world more compassionate than ever before. We hope he is right, but as long as there is the almighty dollar, there will be no compassion, and our children will see nothing but barren earth…”
1998-04-29 Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa, ON by Michael Den Tandt
[RCMP cracks down on trade in endangered animal parts]
“Toronto – The RCMP and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources have taken a bite out of this city’s lucrative trade in endangered animal parts, a move conservationists say is long overdue…
“Asked whether (Viagra) may take some pressure off endangered species, Mr. Marr said… ‘If it doesn’t harm the environment, or any species, and it helps someone’s quality of life, then it’s a private manner.’
“He added, ‘I’ve seen one or two people on TV – and they really vouch for it. Including their wives.”
1998-06-07-7 The Vancouver Courier by Gudrun Will
[Tiger volunteers paint mural to save species]
“On a scalding Wednesday afternoon, underwear clad painters dab tropical sunset colours on the front wall of downtown Davie Street hangout DV8. The artists are creating a tiger mural in preparation for a silent art auction to help save the species.
“… Organizer Tracy Zuber, a tiny 29-year-old in black sports bra and plaid shorts, is a self-professed tiger fanatic. Images of the wild animal cover her apartment walls. ‘They’re the personification of beauty, power and grace. They’re a figurehead of primal life power,’ said Zuber.
“Her preferred felines, however, are also a rapidly dwindling species; little more than 4,000 are left in the wild, and two are killed per day. Zuber was inspired to raise funds to slow down the tiger’s beeline to extinction while participating in the Save-the-Tiger Walk last fall with her daughter Fija. The Year of the Tiger seemed an appropriate time to make an effort, she says……
“… conservationist Anthony Marr will present a slideshow that night…”
1998-09 The Vancouver Sun
[Champions return to Discovery]
“‘It took the tiger 10 million years to evolve to its present state of magnificence,’ says Anthony Marr, ‘but less than one century to fall to the brink of extinction. This, sadly, is the way of humans.’
“The Chinese-born Canadian is featured in the Bengal Tiger of India episode of the award-winning TV documentary series Champions of the Wild, now in its second season on Discovery Channel…
“Each episode highlights the efforts of a particular conservationist, from Clark Lungren’s work in the Nazinga Game Reserve, airing October 5, to Marr’s multi-faceted campaign to protect the tiger on October 12…
“Champions of the Wild was produced by Omni Film Productions, in association with the National Film Board, BC Film, and the Discovery Channel, with the participation of Telefilm and the Cable Production Fund.”
1998-10-11-7 The Province, Vancouver by Jonathan McDonald
[Species run for their lives]
“Premier – Champions of the Wild – Mondays at 6 and 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.
“… this 13-part series is only partly about the animals who are running for their lives. It’s mainly about the people – Canadians by and large – who are doing whatever they can to reverse increasingly hopeless situations.
“‘It’s vital,’ says Anthony Marr, a Vancouverite who heads the Tigers Forever campaign and is the subject of ‘Bengal Tigers of India’, which premiers Monday night on Discovery Channel. ‘The tiger is an icon of wildlife conservation. It is one of the world’s most admired and also most endangered animals. If it falls extinct, the whole global conservation effort will lose steam, and the world will lose an immeasurable amount of beauty.’
“Marr is not kidding. Seeing the Bengal tiger sleep, prowl and hunt is wondrous. Seeing the work of poachers – tiger skins and medicines – is no less than horrifying and offensive. And seeing Marr sit down in an Indian village to tell the children about the beauty of the tiger – an animal, he urges, that deserves to be on Earth – is the perfect reflection of Canadians’ work around the globe.
“‘They’re extremely dedicated,’ says Chris Bruyere, Champion’s producer… ‘Often, these are people who don’t believe there’s such a thing as fighting a losing battle.’…
1998-10-11-7 Ming Pao Daily News (Chinese), global
[Chinese campaigner saving 4,000 remaining wild tigers]
“The WCWC set up booth at the Vancouver Public Library Saturday to publicize tiger conservation, and will lead the Save-the-Tiger Walk at Stanley Park next Saturday…
“Anthony Marr says that of the original 8 subspecies of tigers, only 5 remain, totaling no more than 4 or 5 thousand, of which two die daily to poaching and other causes. At this rate, there will be no tigers left to celebrate the next Year of the Tiger…”
1998-10-18-7 Ming Pao Daily News (Chinese), global
[100 walk to save 4,000 tigers]
“… Last year’s Save-the-Tiger Walk brought out 2,000 people and raised almost $20,000 for tiger conservation. Unfortunately, this year’s Walk picked the worse possible time weatherwise. Only 100 people showed up to brave the heavy rain and high winds…”
1998-11-07 Toronto Sun by Michael Clement
[Animal Parts illegally sold here: activist]
“A west-coast wildlife activist alleges he purchased three bottles containing parts of endangered species, being sold illegally in a store in Toronto’s Chinatown yesterday…
“Marr asked reporters to accompany him to the Po Chi Tong Chinese pharmacy on Dundas St. W. yesterday where he purchased the three bottles. The bottles of pills purportedly contained bear gall bladder secretion, possibly from the endangered Asiatic Black bear, secretions from the musk gland of the endangered Musk Deer, and tiger bone, possibly from the endangered Bengal or Siberian Tiger, Marr said.
“‘Internationally, endangered species are totally forbidden to be traded, alive or dead, in whole or part,’ he said, adding that in June 1996 Ottawa enacted laws ‘forbidding the sale of anything containing endangered species parts.’
“‘The point of this exercise is to prove that the law is not being effectively enforced.’…”
1998-11-26-4 Nelson Daily News by Bob Hall
[Kids in the tiger’s grasp]
“Anthony Marr… is touring area schools this week promoting the Save-the-Tiger campaign. With the help of the Nelson Youth Environmental group who put on a play of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax followed by Marr’s slideshow… Wednesday morning, Marr talked to Hume Elementary School students in front of a 12 foot high, 50 feet long inflatable tiger prop. To bring further attention to the issue there will be a Save-the-Tiger Walk-a-thon this Saturday at Lakeside Park starting at 11 a.m. For more information contact the Nelson Eco-Centre.”
1998-12-02-3 Trail Daily News by Lana Rodlie
[WCWC shares extinction fears with area students]
“… Bring the message about diminishing tigers to area schools, Anthony Marr is hoping to save the tiger, one child at a time…
“Pointing out how every living thing affect the life of something else, he asked the children, ‘How many cows do you think live in India?’
“Would you believe 350 million?
“Cows eat grass. Deer eat grass. Tigers eat deer. If the cows eat up all the grass, what do you think will happen to the deer, and the tiger?…
“‘Still, if you go into an Indian national park, you’re not allowed to touch anything, take anything, not even pick a blade of grass. But would you believe in a BC park, you are allowed to kill grizzly bears?’”
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)
http://www.DearHomoSapiens.blogspot.com (AM’s 3rd-book-in-the-making)