Tiger count stable but habitats shrinking
Wednesday December 12, 02:03 AM
Two years after tigers went missing in the Sariska Wildlife Sanctuary, the Global Tiger Action Plan was released on Monday by a forest guard and the sarpanch of the first village to be relocated out of the wildlife hub. The Global Tiger Action Plan was released for 14 countries where the animal still exists, including India.
Following recommendations of the ministry of environment and forests, the Rajasthan forest department decided on voluntary relocation of 11 villages from the core areas in Sariska as part of efforts to bring the tiger back to the sanctuary.
The action plan released has been put together by the Global Tiger Forum – of which India is a founder member – along with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Giving latest updates on tiger estimation in the country, the secretary-general of the GTF, S.C. Dey, said the “situation is reasonably happy” in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Russia. “The numbers of tigers have not declined since the disappearance in Sariska but shrinkage of habitats is still an area of concern.”
Chronic deficiencies were still hampering conservation efforts in India, Ashok Kumar, vice-chairman of the WTI, said. “The forest departments are getting top heavy with officer-rank staff but a whopping 12,000 vacancies of forest guards, the main conservation agents, are yet to be filled.”
Member of the National Tiger Conservation Authority Rajesh Gopal said the Centre had identified eight new tiger reserves. These include the Annamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, Udanti and Sita Nadi Wildlife Sanctuaries in Chhattisgarh and Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary in Orissa.
Dey of the GTF said the situation was critical in China and North Korea. The South China subspecies along with the North Korean tiger is thought to be extinct. “There is no news of any sighting of the Korean subspecies since 1997. It’s unlikely that the species exists anymore,” he said.
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