New Delhi: In November 2010, at St Petersburg in Russia, at a global tiger summit, 13 countries came together and agreed to work towards national and global tiger recovery plans. They pledged to work to double the global population of tigers, numbers, that in a hundred years, has fallen from an estimated 1,00,000 to 3,200.
Now as the same stakeholders meet once again in the national capital, it’s time to take stock.
In a video address to the delegates at the First Stock Taking Meeting to review the implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Program, World Bank President, Robert Zoellick said, “This conference provides an opportunity to assess both the headway we’ve already made as well as the setbacks, to prioritize actions and define milestones for the next three years.”
There are three focus areas: Protecting tiger habitats, cracking down on poaching and wildlife trafficking and law enforcement in protected areas.
At the start of the three-day stocktaking meeting, Secretary, Environment and Forests, Dr T Chatterjee said, “Both at the global and at the national level, we have to research new mechanisms, which are more inclusive, where people are also involved in conservation.”
Inaugurating the meeting, Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said, “Our experience has highlighted the need for enlisting local public support, which is crucial for tiger conservation to succeed. The ‘exclusive’ tiger agenda of the core, complemented by the ‘inclusive’ multiple use strategy in the surrounding buffer areas have strengthened wild tiger conservation. Thus, the ‘people agenda’ ranks prominently in our ‘tiger agenda’. While we do not imagine any coexistence in the inviolate core areas, a viable inclusive agenda involving local people is fostered in the surrounding buffer. As many as 25 lakh man-days are generated annually in various States under Project Tiger through involvement of local workforce. Besides, the Tiger Conservation Plan makes it a statutory obligation for addressing both the core and buffer areas.”
She also reiterated India’s commitment to tiger conservation, including acquisition of private land for making the core/critical tiger habitat inviolate and establishment of Tiger Safari, interpretation/awareness centres under the existing component of ‘co-existence agenda in buffer/fringe areas’, and management of such centres through the respective Panchayati Raj Institutions.
No doubt, the number of tigers in the country has increased from the last census, but given that at least 30 tigers have died in the last four months alone, the problem of poaching is still very much alive.