In the cities where we live, animals and people jostle for space. Monkeys, stray cattle and street dogs are now as much urban dwellers as we are. The cutting down of forests and spread of human habitation of leaving less open spaces for animals, pushing some species almost to the brink of extinction.
In this passionate quirky book scharada Dubey illustrates how it is possible for animals and people to live together in harmony. Read about the bull that belies its formidable reputation of being dangerous and unruly, the baby monkey that finds a home even in a town that is wary of thieving monkey, the alert village that foils a tiger poaching event, and the elephants that are gifted a special corridor in the forest. Each story is followed by practical ideas on how one can reduce conflicts between man and animal.
Scharada Dubey is an award-winning author of books for children and adults. She won the first prize in the commonwealth Essay Competition in 1973 and second place in the Outlook-Picador Non-Fiction Competition in 2000. She has also won several prizes for her children’s books. Her earlier books include Growing Up in The Best Days of My Life. As founder of the Sahriday Samiti, Scharada Dubey has worked towards the resolution of the man monkey conflict in Faizabad-Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh.
We never have to go very far to understand that this earth the planet we call our own, is meant to be shared not only with our fellow humans, but also our fellow creatures. Look up at the sky an you see birds flying there living beings who feel hungry and thirsty like us, who reed to build nests for themselves and their young. Whether you live in a town or a village, a mountain top or the beach, there are creatures everywhere, sharing our space, breathing the same air and warmed by the same sun.
Unfortunately, human beings have not spared too much thought for animals when it comes to sharing the resources of the earth. Animals have been hunted to near extinction of their species, or killed for their fur or ivory, their lives sacrificed only to make humans appear Beautiful. The homes of thousands of species of animals all over the world are threatened by ever-expanding areas for human settlements.
In other ways too, humans contribute to making life very difficult for animals. Our appetite for more of everything contributes to poles of urban waste the degrades the environment we all share. How often do we stop to consider how mounds of broken cell phones and computers or old batteries and plastic bags are poisoning the earth not just for us, but for other living creatures too?
The other side to this grim picture is the way in which some animals have become a problem for us in our own cities and around our homes. In our country, millions of humans face daily problems because of the presence of large numbers of domestic or even wild animals, in urban areas. The stray dog menace, or the cattle menace, or the problems of urban monkeys are topics that have become familiar to us from the headlines. The problems of displaced wild or stray animals and their actions that impact humans and the harmful effect of humans on animals are considered as examples of the man-animal conflict.
This book is an attempt to show that all of us are touched by some form of this man-animal conflict, and should therefore spend some time and effort in looking for ways to make life better for us both, humans and animals. I have written it with the firm knowledge that today my readers (yes, that means you may still be in school, but in the not so distant future they are going to be responsible citizens in important positions with the power of bring change. In any case, as concerned human beings we all have the power to take some positive steps. The format of the book is therefore a series of stories on specific problems with animals, each with an accompanying piece which is meant to leave you with things to think about, and figure out where you can begin to make a positive contribution. Don’t just read the stories and leave out the straight talk you will find that some of the things mentioned in those essays are views you feel passionately about, and often have reason to discuss in class and out of it.
So I hope you future veterinarians, scientists, conservationists, policy makers and sensitive and responsible citizens enjoy this book. Do share its concern and ideas with your family and friends, and let it play some part in fuelling your future determination.
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