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PM Modi to unveil India’s 25-year roadmap on tiger conservation today

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Nandan Van Jungle Safari at Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh (Image courtesy: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil India’s vision for tiger conservation during ‘Amrit Kaal’ as he travels to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the Theppakadu Elephant Camp in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Karnataka at the crack of dawn Sunday.

The ‘Amrit Kaal’ is the 25-year-long lead-up to a fully-developed India’s golden centenary of independence in 2047.

As India celebrates 50 years of Project Tiger – the largest species conservation initiative of its kind in the world was launched on 1st April 1973 – PM Modi will declare India’s tiger numbers and release the summary report of All India Tiger Estimation.

He will also interact with frontline field staff, self-help groups involved in conservation activities, and the Field Directors of tiger reserves that have scored highest in the recently concluded 5th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation exercise.

At the Theppakadu Elephant Camp, PM Modi will meet mahouts and kavadis of the elephant camp.

Back in February, the Prime Minister complimented the staff at the reserve for saving an electrocuted elephant and said that such compassion among people is commendable.

He will then inaugurate the programme ‘Commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger’ organised at Karnataka State Open University, Mysuru. A commemorative coin on the completion of 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’ will also be released by the PM.

India is home to 52 Tiger Reserves covering approximately 75,000 square kilometer area in 18 states with approximately 75% of the population of the wild tiger at the global level. India achieved the goal of doubling the tiger numbers in 2018, four years in advance of the targeted year 2022. Also, so far 17 Tiger Reserves in the country have got CA|TS international accreditation and two Tiger Reserves have got the International Tx2 award.

project tiger

India is having bilateral agreements and MoU with several Tiger Range countries and is working very closely with Cambodia, for technical assistance toward bringing back wild tigers. Likewise, a technical partnership has been firmed up with the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia for sharing best practices in science-based wildlife monitoring.

The event will be followed by the PM launching the International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA) – another brainchild of PM Modi who in July 2019 had called for an alliance of global leaders, including heads of government of the Tiger Range countries, to obliterate demand and firmly curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia.

As he complimented various stakeholders for making India one of the world’s largest and most secure habitats for over 3000 tigers, PM Modi also emphasised that the campaign to enrich the wildlife ecosystem is not limited to tigers only.

“The conservation programme of Asiatic Lions found in the forests of Gir in Gujarat and the snow leopards is going on at a rapid pace. In fact, the positive results of the work going on in the Gir forests are clearly visible,” PM Modi said in his speech during the release of ‘Tiger Census Report 2018’ on July 29, 2019.

Four years later, the holistic approach takes shape as IBCA will be launched on Sunday to focus on the protection and conservation of seven major big cats of the world, including tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah, with a membership of the range countries harbouring these species.

PM Modi, who has in the past pledged to create a green and environmentally sustainable country with the tiger being the symbol of sustainability, is also expected to spotlight the efforts made by the government to protect the environment which has made India a global frontrunner of climate action.

On Thursday, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey told Rajya Sabha about several steps taken by the government for the conservation of biodiversity which included not only species-oriented programmes such as Project Tiger, Project Elephant, Project Dolphin but also establishment of a protected area network of national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation and protection of forests.

He informed Parliament that in India, the total forest cover is 21.71% of the total geographical area, while forest and tree cover is 25%. There are also 998 protected areas which cover 5.3% geographical area including wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, marine protected areas etc.

Further, 22 flagship species are under ecosystem-based conservation. Towards the conservation of wetlands, the number of Ramsar sites (wetlands of international importance) in India has increased to 75, the largest in South Asia.

Also Read: After restoring Angkor Wat, India now bringing back tigers to Cambodia