Here at GBXM, we love stories of people getting out into the world with their vehicles to make a difference. Team Traveling for Tigers is about to undertake an epic adventure, traveling a distance equivalent to halfway around the world, all in to raise awareness of Tigers.
What’s your name, location, and occupation?
Amith Bangre, Wildlife Conservationist, Chikmagalur, India.
Asim M., Coffee Planter, Chikmagalur , India.
Chinmayi S K, Software Engineer, Bangalore, India.
What is your mission?
Our mission through this event “Travelling for Tigers” is to do wildlife conservation and encourage others to do so. Also form a committed national team for wildlife Conservation, to Save our national animal, [the] tiger.
How did this idea come to be? When and where did it all start?
It all started with a plan to drive to Bhutan, but then we hit a thought of doing something more than a just a pleasure drive. Amith always had dreamt of a national team which would work for tiger conservation with mutual collaboration and Asim was passionate about driving for it. It was then they hit upon the idea of driving to all tiger reserves and doing conservation along. There was born Travelling for Tigers.
Who will be traveling and in what capacities? How long will this trip take?
Amith and Asim will be driving/travelling through the entire event. Chinmayi will be joining in parts of the event.
Amith and Asim will be coordinating with the work at the reserves. Chinmayi will coordinating in the background to facilitate the team. Apart from these, we will be accompanied by local NGO representative and local media to throw more light towards wildlife and what is essential for their survival.
What will everyone be doing when the group arrives at each preserve?
The group will be talking [about] problems, creating awareness, and doing rehabilitation promotion.
Why do the tigers need our help? What threats do they face? What happens if they become extinct?
Tigers are very essential part of the ecosystem. They are at the top of the food chain and their disappearance would cause an imbalance in the food chain, leading to an increase in herbivore populations, further leading to the large consumption of vegetation and gradual depletion of forests, which are major sources of water and fresh air in the sub-continent. Tigers presently face various threats from the man – animal conflict to poaching and destruction of habitats.
You intend to travel over 25,000kms (over 15,500 miles, or more than halfway around the world at the Equator). Surely this presents several unique challenges. Can you tell us about some of them? What do you anticipate will be the biggest mechanical/transportation challenges?
The unique challenges we are anticipating in our journey are the monsoons. This might present to us more challenges to drive. Apart from that, we are anticipating challenges with respect to the type of reactions we might evoke in different parts of the country, since we would be closely working with the people.
Please tell us about the vehicles you will be using on this journey. Why were they selected? How are they modified/prepared?
We will be driving a Mahindra sponsored Scorpio for the event. This was chosen since it was a SUV and would be ideal for driving in all conditions. The vehicle would be fitted with fog lamps, winch, and tubeless tires. We will also [be] taking aboard jerry cans.
How much fuel do you expect to consume on this journey? What do you expect this to cost?
We estimate around 3000+ liters of fuel to be consumed which would cost around 1.25 lakhs (125,000 INR, or approximately US$2,800).
What are your thoughts on the possible use of electric or hybrid vehicles to reduce the environmental impact of your journey?
We would be more than happy if we could drive a hybrid vehicle (the vehicle was chosen by our vehicle sponsor, so the Mahindra Scorpio was a good choice for us). We wouldn’t prefer [an] electric vehicle due to a very practical problem of electricity in the country.
With only a few days remaining until you depart on your adventure, what obstacles still remain in your path? How will you overcome them?
The major hurdle we are presently facing is the shortage/lack of funds. We are approaching all channels we can for sponsors.
How will you know if Traveling for Tigers was a successful endeavor?
Travelling for Tigers will be a successful endeavor for us if we can inspire people around the country to join our cause and act proactively for wildlife conservation.
Have you thought about what you will do after the journey is done?
Once the journey is done, we plan to continue contributing to conservation and coordinating with the national team to take tiger conservation in the country further.
This is an epic road trip in the works. Above, we mention Traveling for Tigers will be driving a distance equivalent to driving halfway around the world at the Equator, but here’s some other ways of looking at this trip.
- It’s like driving from Los Angeles, California, to New York City five times.
- It’s like driving from Stockholm, Sweden, to Athens, Greece, almost eight times.
Gearbox would like to thank Traveling for Tigers for sharing their story with us when we know they still have a lot of preparations to make. We’ll be following Traveling for Tigers with the Gearbox Magazine Twitter account and retweeting pictures and stories as we get them.