India’s stern steps to protect Tigers

Protection of Tigers

The Minister of state for (I/C) Environment & Forest Smt.Jayanthi Natarajan today listed the following steps for tiger conversation. She stated this in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Milestone initiatives taken by the Government of India for fostering tiger conservation are as follows.

Legal steps

1.       Amendment of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 for providing enabling provisions towards constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau.

2.       Enhancement of punishment in cases of offence relating to a tiger reserve or its core area.

Administrative steps

3.       Strengthening of antipoaching activities, including special strategy for monsoon patrolling, by providing funding support to Tiger Reserve States, as proposed by them, for deployment of anti-poaching squads involving ex-army personnel / home guards, apart from workforce comprising of local people, in addition to strengthening of communication / wireless facilities.

4.       Constitution of the National Tiger Conservation Authority with effect from 4.09.2006, for strengthening tiger conservation by, inter alia, ensuring normative standards in tiger reserve management, preparation of reserve specific tiger conservation plan, laying down annual audit report before Parliament, constituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Ministers and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.

5.       Constitution of a multidisciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau) with effect from 6.6.2007 to effectively control illegal trade in wildlife.

6.       The in-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of five new tiger reserves, and the sites are:, Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani(Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda (Orissa) and Mukundara Hills (including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) (Rajasthan) and Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu). Final approval has been accorded to Kudremukh (Karnataka) for declaring as a Tiger Reserve. Besides, the States have been advised to send proposals for declaring the following areas as Tiger Reserves: (i) Bor (Maharashtra), (ii) Suhelwa(Uttar Pradesh), (iii) Nagzira-Navegaon (Maharashtra), (iv) Guru Ghasidas National Park (Chhattisgarh), (v) MhadeiSanctuary (Goa) and (vi) Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel / Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuaries / VarushanaduValley (Tamil Nadu).

7.       The revised Project Tiger guidelines have been issued to States for strengthening tiger conservation, which apart from ongoing activities, interalia, include funding support to States for enhanced village relocation/rehabilitation package for people living in core or critical tiger habitats (from Rs. 1lakh/family to Rs. 10 lakhs/family), rehabilitation/resettlement of communities involved in traditional hunting, mainstreaming livelihood and wildlife concerns in forests outside tiger reserves and fostering corridor conservation through restorative strategy to arrest habitat fragmentation.

8.       A scientific methodology for estimating tiger (including co-predators, prey animals and assessment of habitat status) has been evolved and mainstreamed.  The findings of this estimation/assessment are bench marks for future tiger conservation strategy.

9.       An area of 33472.01 sq. km. has been notified by 16 Tiger States (out of 17) as core or critical tiger habitat under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006 (Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal). The State of Bihar has taken a decision for notifying the core or critical tiger habitat of Valmiki Tiger Reserve.

Financial steps

10.     Financial and technical help is provided to the States under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes, viz. Project Tiger and Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats for enhancing the capacity and infrastructure of the States for providing effective protection to wild animals.

International Cooperation

11.     India has a Memorandum of Understanding with Nepal on controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife and conservation, apart from a protocol on tiger conservation with China.

12.     A Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries has been created for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation.

13.     During the 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES, which was held from 3rd to 15th June, 2007 at The Hague, India introduced a resolution along with China, Nepal and the Russian Federation, with directions to Parties with operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale, for restricting such captive populations to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers.  The resolution was adopted as a decision with minor amendments. Further, India made an intervention appealing to China to phase out tiger farming, and eliminate stockpiles of Asian big cats body parts and derivatives.  The importance of continuing the ban on trade of body parts of tigers was emphasized.

14.     Based on India’s strong intervention during the 58th meeting of the Standing Committee of the CITES at Geneva from 6thto 10th July, 2009, the CITES Secretariat has issued a notification to Parties to submit reports relating to compliance of Decisions 14.69 and 14.65 within 90 days with effect from 20.10.2009 (Progress made on restricting captive breeding operations of tigers etc.).

Reintroduction of Tigers

15.     As a part of active management to rebuild Sariska and Panna Tiger Reserves where tigers have become locally extinct, reintroduction of tigers / tigresses have been done.

16.     Special advisories issued for in-situ build up of prey base and tiger population through active management in tiger reserves having low population status of tiger and its prey.

Creation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF)

17.     The policy initiatives announced by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech of 29.2.2008, interalia, contains action points relating to tiger protection. Based on the one time grant of Rs. 50.00 crore provided to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for raising, arming and deploying a Special Tiger Protection Force, the proposal for the said force has been approved by the competent authority for 13 tiger reserves.  Rs. 93 lakhs each has been released to Corbett, Ranthambhore & Dudhwa Tiger Reserve for creation of STPF during 2008-09. Since then, the guidelines of the STPF have been revised for deploying forest personnel in place of Police as an option-II, with scope for involving local people like the Van Gujjars.  During the year 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 3 crores has been provided to theSimilipal Tiger Reserve for raising, arming and deploying the STPF.

18.     In collaboration with TRAFFIC-INDIA, an online tiger crime data base has been launched, and Generic Guidelines for preparation of reserve specific Security Plan has been evolved.

Recent initiatives

1.       Implementing a tripartite MOU with tiger States, linked to fund flows for effective implementation of tiger conservation initiatives.

2.       Rapid assessment of tiger reserves done.

3.       Special crack teams sent to tiger reserves affected by left wing extremism and low population status of tiger and its prey.

4.       Chief Ministers of States having tiger reserves affected by left wing extremism and low population status of tiger and its prey addressed for taking special initiatives.

5.       Steps taken for modernizing the infrastructure and field protection, besides launching ‘M-STrIPES’ for effective field patrolling and monitoring.

6.       Steps taken for involvement of Non-Governmental Experts in the ongoing all India tiger estimation.

7.       Initiatives taken for improving the field delivery through capacity building of field officials, apart from providing incentives.

8.       Action initiated for using Information Technology to strengthen surveillance in tiger reserves.

9.       The second round of country level tiger status assessment completed in 2010, with the findings indicating an increase with a tiger population estimate of 1706, lower and upper limits being 1520 and 1909 respectively, as compared to the last country level estimation of 2006, with an estimate of 1411, lower and upper limits being 1165 and 1657 respectively.

10.     The second round of independent assessment of Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves done in 2010-11 for 39 tiger reserves based on globally used framework.

11.     Increase in the allocation for Project Tiger with additional components.

12.     Providing special assistance for mitigation of human-tiger conflicts in problematic areas.

13.     As an outcome of the fourth Trans-border Consultative Group Meeting held in New Delhi, a joint resolution has been signed with Nepal for biodiversity / tiger conservation.

14.     Regional Offices of the National Tiger Conservation Authority sanctioned at Nagpur, Bengaluru and Guwahati.

15.     Launching of Phase-IV tiger reserve level monitoring.

16.     A protocol on conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sundarban signed between India and Bangladesh in September, 2011.

DK

(Release ID :83163)