Convert Kudremukh National Park into Tiger Reserve, asserts Jairam Ramesh

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DHARMASTHALA: Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh insisted that Kudremukh National Park (KNP) should be declared as Tiger Reserve. This comes in wake of opposition to the idea by Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who during the campaign for Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha byelection, had said the government would cancel the Tiger Reserve status enjoyed by Bhadra Tiger Reserve, besides dropping the proposal to get KNP declared a Tiger Reserve.

On the sidelines of tri-decennial celebrations of Sri Kshetra Dharmastala Rural Development Programme here on Friday, the minister said that the state government should take necessary steps to convert Kudremukh into tiger reserve. “I had written a letter to then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa with suggestions to facilitate conversion of KNP into tiger reserve. I will discuss it Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore on June 23,” he added.

Out of 1,400 tribal families, who are residing in Kudremukh, 100 have already received the compensation and shifted from the forest, he said. “Applications of 600 families, who are willing to shift from Kudremukh, are pending before the state government for about 10 years. They are ready to come out of the forest, but the government has not taken initiative to rehabilitate them property, Ramesh said adding that families will be given a minimum compensation of Rs 10 lakh.

“We are receiving information that left wing extremist activities are taking place in the area. Meanwhile, there is opposition from the local political parties too. It is a matter of urgency that families should be relocated and compensated adequately. Then only we will be able to check naxal activities,” Ramesh said.

Asserting that no families will be evicted forcibly from forests, Ramesh said, “All facilities will be provided to tribals who do not want to come out of forest.” Declaring KNP as Tiger Reserve does not include Bhadra – Kudremukh corridor project. “The union government has no proposal to implement such a corridor project as part of the announcement of Tiger Reserve,” he added.

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Delhi hosts global meet on tigers; concern expressed over poaching

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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.
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There were 32 tiger deaths this year: Jayanthi Natarajan

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As many as 32 tigers have died this year, even as latest official data showed an increase in the population estimates of the big cats. Of these, 18 were natural deaths, Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said.

Expressing concern over the endangered status of the tiger the world over, Ms. Natarajan on Tuesday said the Ministry was looking into the reasons for the deaths.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the first stocktaking meeting of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP), Ms. Natarajan said poaching was one of the reasons. Other reasons include man-animal conflict.

New forest reserves

Delivering the keynote address at the meet, she spoke about the establishment of new forest reserves to ensure a safe habitat for tigers. “We are in the process of establishing more tiger reserves. Based on 2010 assessment, a new tiger reserve — the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh — has been constituted. In-principle approval has been accorded for declaring the Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu as a tiger reserve,” she said.

The government had launched the fourth phase of ‘Reserve Level Monitoring’ to study the big cats’ population and habitat on an annual basis. Almost one per cent of country’s geographical area was conserved for tigers as their core/critical habitat.

India’s commitment for saving the tiger is well-known. Wild tigers thrive in 17 of our States. We have the maximum number of tigers. ‘Project Tiger‘ was launched in 1973 with nine tiger reserves. Today, the coverage has increased to 41 reserves spread over all the 17 States,” she said.

“The wild tiger continues to remain endangered the world over. Threats to the wild tiger and its habitat are due to several factors like poaching, illegal trade catering to a demand for the body parts and derivatives of the tiger, loss of habitat due to extractive industries, infrastructure and revenge killings,” she said.

Adaptive management

Ms. Natarajan favoured adaptive management to tackle country- and area-specific issues related to tiger conservation.

Last year, the government increased its allocation up to Rs. 1,216.86 crore, especially to support the States for securing inviolate space for tigers, she said.

The tiger reserves had been directed to raise a Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF); several new technologies were being used to safeguard the animal.

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