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As we observe World Wildlife Day on March 3 to celebrate the flora and fauna around the globe, a galaxy of Bollywood stars reminded their fans about the importance of conserving forest lands and promoting indigenous communities. Here’s a look at the stars who have thrown their weight behind this worthy cause by working with charities or signing petitions for conservation …
Image Credit: Twitter.com/RandeepHooda
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Randeep Hooda: One of the most versatile actors in Bollywood is also a keen wildlife photographer and is known for his stunning animal and nature-centric photography. On World Wildlife Day, he posted an idyllic picture of a majestic tiger roaming freely in the forest. The animal is surrounded by lush lakes and thick foliage. But he wasn’t just showing off his astute photography skills. The image came with a powerful message. “Wildlife needs habitats!!,” posted Hooda reminding his followers that conserving forests and wildlife was our responsibility. In the past, he has also posted compelling images of rare animals captured through his lens. The ‘Highway’ star recently posted a picture of a lone stag drinking water from a pond with the caption: “Satrangi Re. Wetlands are precious”.
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John Abraham: This Bollywood dreamboat launched a campaign to save the world-famous one-horned rhinoceros in Assam a few years ago. “I am seriously looking at projects to help save rhinos in Assam. It is in the back of my mind. From January, I will start a CSR activity and campaign for rhinos,” Abraham said at a press conference to local reporters in 2014. The ‘Dostana’ star also takes pride in being an animal activist. “I am involved with the save tiger project. I am also doing a documentary on tigers. So I am very much interested to do something for the rhinos and I will surely take it up,” he added.
Image Credit: Insta/thejohnabraham
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Dia Mirza: Bollywood actress and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador Dia Mirza never misses a chance to throw her celebrity behind eco-conservation and banning the use of single-use plastic. She has often shared videos speaking about the importance of protecting endangered species. In an inspiring video from Wildlife Trust of India and Club Nature, Mirza shared how tigers can be saved if humans take a few small steps. “The tiger is not only the apex predator but a key species. If tigers disappear from the earth, so many other species depending on them will cease to exist. Tigers need forests as much as forests need tigers to survive. If tigers disappear, so will rivers and ecosystems that derive life from them. But the survival of forests now depends on choices that we as humans make,” said Mirza in the video from 2016. She urged everyone to make the right choices.
Image Credit: Instagram
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“To use less paper, to say no to all plastic, to switch off the lights when you are not using them, use less water, to walk more, to buy local produce, and leave the forests and tigers alone. They will thrive. Nature has a way of getting back stronger,” she added.
Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
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Sunny Leone: In January 2020, the actress joined hands with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals India (Peta) for a new campaign against the use of animal skin. She’s a fierce advocate of vegan fashion that’s free from leather or other animal-derived materials. She’s also known to shelter abandoned cats in her home. “It has been wonderful associating with Peta India, working on so many campaigns — from encouraging the adoption and sterilisation of cats and dogs to speaking about the importance of going vegetarian. I look forward to unveiling the next campaign soon, which for now, I’ll say will help animals save their skins,” said Leone.
Image Credit: instagram.com/sunnyleone
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Anushka Sharma: The fierce Bollywood actress and producer doesn’t limit herself to telling civilians off for littering the streets and soiling nature but is also an ardent advocate of stricter wildlife protection laws. The ‘Pataal Lol’ producer has often flooded her Instagram with concerns about the welfare of animals in India. When news about a stray dog in Mumbai being mistreated broke, she began a campaign #JusticeForAnimals to create awareness about cruelty meted out to animals and called for stricter animal protection laws.
Image Credit: Instagram
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In several interviews, she has spoken about this cause which is close to her heart. “Life is life and every life on this beautiful planet is equally important. This world is not just for humans,” she cautioned. She has also opened a rescue shelter for animals in Mumbai and launched awareness drives such as ‘Pawsitive’, a campaign to underline how noise and pollution can harm animals on our planet.
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“We are truly blessed being humans … We have a voice to speak up, we have fundamental rights, we can ask for justice, we have families, and near and dear ones to love us and take care of us. Now about the animals … Think about how they live, how they are treated, think about their rights, think if they are treated fairly,” wrote Sharma on her Instagram page. “That’s where we come in as humans who stand up for all living beings. It is our responsibility.”
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Bhumi Pednekar: The Yash Raj Films discovery is a proud climate warrior and is constantly urging her fans and her followers to adopt sustainable living. Apart from being vocal about it, she has also supported a series of initiatives focusing on climate change and has spearheaded contests to promote her cause. “I think the entire human race needs to wake up to the fact that we need nature more than it needs us and that reasons enough why we must strive to protect it. While this is not a one-man job, every small step towards a sustainable future counts,” said Pednekar while promoting the eco protection contest.