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Difficult to save tigers without protecting habitats

THE HINDU
6 May 2009


CHENNAI: An apex-level consultation involving Forest officials, scientists, wildlife experts and the corporate sector will be held in New Delhi in July to formalise the recommendations of the four national-level consultations on the future of the Bengal Tiger, Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia, said on Tuesday.

A final set of recommendations would be prepared and submitted to the Prime Minister. Plans were also afoot to hold a public rally stressing the need for protecting the tiger.

“We will force the agenda on the political system.” Sharing some of the important outcomes of the two-day consultation here with journalists, Mr. Sahgal said it would be difficult to save tigers without protecting habitats.

With the systematic melting of the Himalayan Glaciers, the water source for the food basket States such as Uttar Pradesh (western part), Punjab and Haryana would be affected. This would force farmers and others to move south. Similar was the condition in the neighbouring Bangladesh, where the people were exposed to the dangers of submergence, he pointed out.

One of the participants, Ritwick Dutta, an advocate, explained how to proceed legally against anti-forest activities. Belinda Wright, a conservationist, shared her knowledge of how poachers operate and explained the routes through which wildlife trophies were smuggled out.

Countering wildlife trade at the international and local levels, securing and expanding the critical habitat network, village resettlement, using science to guide park management, restoration of natural habitats and financing the restoration of natural habitats were some of the key recommendations made during the consultations.

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