Amitabh Bachchan made his debut as the brand ambassador for tiger conservation in Maharashtra on October 7 and took pledge with young children to work for the preservation of the endangered national animal. Maharashtra, which boasts of six tiger reserves and has a major chunk of India's tiger population, is celebrating the World Wildlife Week.
Mr Bachchan is also the brand ambassador for NDTV's Save The Tiger campaign. Speaking exclusively to NDTV he said, "I am happy to support the efforts the Maharashtra government is making for tiger conservation. If my voice, my face can make a difference, I am happy to do so."
Maharashtra's Forest Minister, Sudhir Munghantiwar told NDTV, "I am happy that a busy man like Mr Bachchan has given us his time and joined hands with us to save tigers and wildlife in the state. He has a huge reach and if he can take our message to the people about the schemes and policies we are implementing to save the tiger and the forest, there is nothing better than that."
Speaking to young school children, all members of Maharashtra's Green Army, Mr Bachchan said: "When we were moving from 19th to 20th century, the tiger count was 40,000. In 2008, it reduced to 1,411. Many organisations and people started movements post that year. Now the count has reached 2,226." (Also Read: When Amitabh Bachchan Was 'Chased' by a Tiger for 4 Km)
Mr Bachchan spent nearly four hours at Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SNGP), a wildlife habitat bang in the middle of the city. The park is struggling with issues of encroachment and man-animal encounters. The Maharashtra government has announced a new policy to help the park overcome the issues. "Today, for the first time in 45 years, I saw such a picture of the forest department which I have not seen before. This made me sad and these are the things which make me determined to work towards the success of this project," Mr Bachchan said.