India’s tiger population has grown to nearly 3,000, making the country one of the safest habitats for the endangered animals.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday released the tiger count for last year, saying it was a “historic achievement” for India as the big cat’s population had dwindled to 1,400 about 14 to 15 years ago.
Yesterday was Global Tiger Day, created in 2010 at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia.
India estimates its tiger population every four years. The tiger is India’s national animal and it is categorized as endangered under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Indian Minister of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said the tiger population was 2,226 in the last count, in 2014.
The human conflict with tigers has gradually increased since the 1970s, when India started a tiger conservation program that carved out sanctuaries in national parks and made it a crime to kill them.
“With around 3,000 tigers, India has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for them in the world,” Modi said and praised all the stakeholders involved in the country’s tiger conservation exercise.
“Nine years ago, it was decided in St Petersburg that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years in advance,” he said.
He also said that the number of protected areas in the country has risen from 692 in 2014 to 860 last year. Similarly, the number of community reserves has gone up to 100 from 43 in 2014.
Belinda Wright, founder of the New Dehli-based Wildlife Protection Society of India, said India should be very proud of its conservation achievement as the latest study was a much larger and more thorough estimation of the tiger population than done before.
“But we still have a long way to go to secure a long-term future for wild tigers,” she said, adding that human-tiger conflict was one of the biggest conservation challenges because India has so many people.”
The conflict between wildlife, confined to ever-shrinking forests and grasslands, and India’s human population is deadly. Government data show about one person is killed every day by tigers or elephants.
Wright said the government should not relax any protection measure and should avoid “huge linear intrusions, including highways, railways, electric power line and canals through protected areas as this leads to increased human-tiger conflict.”
In related news, Modi is teaming up with British TV adventurer Bear Grylls to venture into India’s wilderness to raise awareness about protecting nature, Grylls said yesterday.
“People across 180 countries will get to see the unknown side of PM @narendramodi as he ventures into Indian wilderness to create awareness about animal conservation & environmental change,” Grylls, star of Man vs. Wild on the Discovery Channel, said on Twitter.
A trailer for the program shows Modi, 68, driving into the Jim Corbett National Park in northern India guided by Grylls, with images of a tiger, a herd of elephants and deer running in the distance.
Modi said he had grown up in nature and the program with Grylls was a chance to showcase India’s rich wildlife.
“For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests,” Discovery quoted Modi as saying in a statement. “These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special program focusing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it.”
The show is to air on Aug. 12.
Additional reporting by Reuters and staff writer
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year