Sadly, the outside world has not returned the favour.#7 The Roma
The word gypsy has become somewhat corrupted now; used to describe just about anyone with a caravan or hoop earrings. The traditional Romany gypsy came to central-east Europe about 1000 years ago, from Rajasthan in India. Oft erroneously portrayed as hook-nosed fortune-tellers, the number of Romany themselves is stable, but the traditional culture is on the wane.
Land shortage and European Human Rights legislation (creating incentive to be assimilated into other communities) is creating an increasing trend of the Romany ditching their age-old way of life and settling down.#8 The Tiger
Tigers aren't like pandas. Pandas are notorious for their embarrassing lack of libido, but tigers breed very successfully in captivity. I like to think the Bengal Tiger breeds most vigorously, but he probably sits around talking about lion/tiger politics and how Bengal Tigers are more intelligent than others. Texas alone boasts over 10,000 caged tigers, but in the tiger's home of Asia, only four thousand are left. Three and a half thousand of these are in India, with most of the rest in Russia and Sumatra. Without wanting to sound like a long-playing record, as in the case of the Javan Rhino
, Chinese medicine has a lot of answer for, still the chief drive of poaching in India. Fucking shitheads.
Yet threats to the tiger's livelihood are legion. Poaching occurs not only for medicinal demands, but tiger hides remain popular. Man also hunts tiger prey – hoofed animals – widely. Deforestation and mining rob the tiger of its natural habitat.
Ruth Padel, the author of Tigers in Red Weather
, states that India is the only country likely or able to do anything to stop tigers vanishing forever. In The Independent
, Padel quoted from the Mahabharata:
She commented on a recent survey which named tigers the "world's favourite animal". Padel feels it's because tigers represent the wild itself. The world desperately needs the symbol of the wild, wildlife and wilderness to survive. If only so that we can remain civilised.#9 The Flower Valley at Bhyundar Gorge
Few countries can match India's biodiversity. A foray into the foothills of the mighty Himalaya reveals India's alpine beauty. A carpet of lilies, primulas, poppies and anemones bursts into life as the snow recedes. Towering snowy mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to a symphony of colour.
Over-grazing seems to have caused bracken to overrun the flowers. But as with the Three Gorges
project, a new dam will divert water from the area and a busy new road will change the peaceful garden forever.