Three-day mega event to showcase Centre’s big cat conservation efforts
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch a three-day mega event on Apr. 9 in Mysuru to mark the completion of 50 years of Project Tiger and showcase India’s tiger conservation success globally.
According to reports from New Delhi, the PM will also release the latest tiger census data, the Government’s vision for tiger conservation during ‘Amrit Kaal’. A commemorative coin will also be released, said Member-Secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority S.P. Yadav.
“We are the only country which has done an independent periodic assessment of tiger reserves. The Prime Minister will release a detailed report on this,” he said. The three-day event will see the participation of Forest and Wildlife Ministers of all States, Ministers of all tiger range countries, scientists and representatives of major international NGOs.
Why Mysuru was chosen?
Sources said that the PM’s event will either be held at the Senate Hall of the University of Mysore or at the KSOU Convocation Hall. The venue has not been finalised due to security reasons.
Mysuru has been chosen as the venue of the mega event and the place to release the latest tiger census data due to the formidable presence of many Tiger Reserves like the Bandipur National Park, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Biligiri Ranganatha Tiger (BRT) Reserve and K.Gudi Wildlife Sanctuary in the Old Mysuru region.
These sanctuaries are spread across three States — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and are an integral part of the Western Ghats and the Nilgiri Biosphere. Sources from the Forest Department said that the tiger census data is likely to reveal Karnataka (with many Tiger Reserves in the Old Mysuru region) having the highest (Number One position) number of big cats in India,
Karnataka’s first Project Tiger
India launched Project Tiger on April 1, 1973, to promote tiger conservation. Initially, it covered nine tiger reserves spread over 18,278 sq km. Incidentally, Karnataka’s first Project Tiger was implemented in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in 1973 and it has been 50 years (Golden Jubilee) ever since.
On Nov. 17, 1973, the then Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs declared Bandipur Park as a ‘Tiger Reserve’ heralding a new era of tiger protection in the country. Bandipur was announced as Park by including Venugopalaswamy Wildlife area and surrounding forest on Feb. 19, 1941.
Only 13 tigers were there at the time of launching Project Tiger at Bandipur. Now, thanks to the sustained efforts of forest officials, this Park has more than 175 tigers.
In 1985, some more areas were brought under Tiger Reserve and re-christened as Bandipur National Park. At that time, the total area of the Park was 874.20 sq.km and more forest area was added in the coming years. Now the total area of Tiger Reserve was 912.04 sq kms which included Wayanad in Kerala, Mudhumalai in Tamil Nadu and BRT Sanctuary.
70 percent of global wild tiger population
At present, India has 53 tiger reserves covering more than 75,000 sq km (approximately 2.4 percent of the country’s geographical area) of tiger habitat. With a current population of about 3,000 tigers, India is home to more than 70 percent of the global wild tiger population and their number is increasing by six percent per annum.
The tiger reserves are repositories for biodiversity conservation in the country. These ensure regional water security and carbon sequestration and thus contribute to accomplishing India’s climate change mitigation targets.
Countries with tiger populations — India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam — in 2010 committed to doubling their number of big cats by 2022. India met its target in 2018, four years ahead of schedule.
[PM Modi is on a day’s visit to Karnataka today (Mar. 25) for taking part in programmes at Bengaluru, Muddenahalli (Chikkaballapur) and Davanagere.]