|If Modi is serious about saving India's tigers, he must read this
Ahead of the Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, suggestions for PM.
11 April 2016
April 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the third
edition of the Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation at
Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, which will have 13 participating tiger
range countries. All these tiger range countries will share their good
practices and success stories, thereby contributing towards the cause
One expects that India will take the lead - not
because it is a host country, but because we have the maximum number of
wild tigers in the world at 2,226, a jump from 30 per cent since from a
shocking 1,411 in 2006 to an encouraging 1,706 (all mean figures from
the estimated range) in 2010.
It is a matter of tremendous
pride, that a country like India-with its booming population, high
population density, grinding poverty, a consumptive middle class and
imperative to develop, harbours the maximum - about 60 per cent of the
world's wild tigers.
But along the way, we got so enamoured by the "2,226" aura, we believe that "all is well with the tiger".
factors which helped tigers bounce back and given India a
position of leadership in its conservation: political will and a
commitment to protect its last remaining habitat seem to be at an all
time low. Shockingly, the tiger is being pitched as a "hurdle" in the
country's development. As per reports, even the country's Supreme Court
observed on January 20 that "conservation of tigers was important but
could not be at the cost of general economic development of the
country," in context of expansion of a highway through a vital tiger
The prime minister has asked "wildlife lovers" for their thoughts, ideas, inputs. Sir, here are mine:
Tigers are not secure in India (to be fair, across its range). We have
has lost the highest number of tigers to poachers and illegal killing
in 2016 in the last 15 years. According to data compiled by the
Wildlife Protection Society of India, the last peak was in the first
quarter of 2001, when 30 tigers were poached (including seizure of body
parts, skins). Between 2002 and 2015, the number of tigers poached in
the first three months of a year varied from three to 16. But the news
is grim again in 2016 - 25 tigers have been killed, including seizures
of skins and other derivatives, till March 31.