School students in Madhya Pradesh are planning to seek President APJ Abdul Kalam's intervention to bring back the elusive white tiger to its homeland in the state.
The forests in and around Rewa were once the habitat of the rare white tiger. One of the cats was first caught over five decades ago by Martand Singh, the erstwhile ruler of Rewa, in 1952.
Singh named the tiger Mohan and kept it in his Govindgarh Lake Palace. Rewa then became famous worldwide as a land of white tigers. But today not a single white tiger is present in or around Rewa.
Madhya Pradesh, which is known as a tiger state for its sizeable population of big cats, can boast of only one white tiger, which is in the zoo in this state capital.
Pushpraj Singh, a scion of the erstwhile royal family of Rewa has launched a drive under which he is collecting signatures of 50,000 students of schools of the district.
"We have already collected signatures of 48,000 students," Singh said.
Along with the signatures, Singh is planning to send a memorandum to President Kalam urging to put in a word to the Government to send at least two white tigers to Rewa.
If Singh is successful in getting two white tigers, he has plans to keep them in Govindgarh Lake Palace just as his father had kept Mohan.
There are some 75 white tigers in India. But all of them are in zoos and none in the wild. The Nandan Kanan Zoo of Orissa has the maximum number of white tigers.
According to Singh, white tigers are a sensitive issue in Rewa and if a few of the rare big cats were sent to the district through the Central Zoo Authority, the move would boost tourist inflow.
Singh said that in the US, Malaysia and Thailand, tourism packages are offered centring round white tigers.
Alka Tiwari, who worked with Singh for the signature campaign, said the school students were thrilled at the idea of having white tigers in Rewa.