Tiger population in India has seen a growth of 30% with 2,226 tigers in 47 reserves
GN Bureau | January 20, 2015
A sustained effort, even from the government, pays handsome dividends. This has been demonstrated by the Project Tiger. The national animal is thriving.
Tiger population in India has seen a growth of 30% with 2,226 tigers in 47 reserves in 2014. Naturally, the government is happy. "While the tiger population is falling in the world, it is rising in India. It is a great news," environment minister Prakash Javadekar said.
"Never before such an exercise has been taken. We have unique photographs of 80% of tigers," he said, talking about the year-long survey the helped prepare the estimation report.
Tiger population had dipped in 2006 to an alarming 1,411 from over 3,000 in early 2000, prompting the government to form a Tiger Task Force and tighten protection measures. And the conservation efforts have paid off as the new figures show.
India has been struggling to hold on to its last few hundreds of big cats left in the wild because of rampant poaching that feeds an illegal international trade, which supplies animal parts to the traditional Chinese medicine market, and also habitat loss, prey depletion and poor management of tiger reserves.
The government had launched the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973 and over the years increased tiger reserves from 9 to 47. In 2007, it constituted a multidisciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau) to effectively control illegal trade in wildlife.
Rajesh Gopal, member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, said the estimation drive was a massive exercise across India which showed improvement in tiger numbers in many states.
Javadekar conferred the best reserve award on Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh. Annamallai Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu) got the award for best communication and Periyar (Kerala) was rewarded for involving local communities. The Melghat reserve (Maharashtra) got award for smooth village relocation from tiger reserve.
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