On the occasion of Global Tiger Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday reaffirmed India’s commitment to protecting tigers. Releasing the four-yearly report of the All-India Tiger Estimation, Modi said that the number of tigers in India stands at around 3,000 today. “India is one of the safest habitats for tigers,” he added.
“The story which started from ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and reached to ‘Tiger Zinda hai’, shouldn’t end there,” PM Modi said, adding that the results of the just declared tiger census would make every Indian happy. “Nine years ago, it was decided in St. Petersburg that target of doubling tiger population will be 2022. We completed this target 4 years early,” he said.
Adding that India will strike a balance between development and environment, PM Modi said, “India will build more homes for our citizens and at the same time create quality habitats for animals. India will have a vibrant marine economy and healthier marine ecology. This balance is what will contribute to a strong and inclusive India,” Narendra Modi said.
In 2014, the country had registered the presence of 2,226 tigers. Wildlife Institute of India authored the report jointly with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and state Forest Departments.
WII Director V B Mathur told The Indian Express that the tigers’ presence has increased in areas that earlier had no signs of the animal. When asked if this would mean more conflict with humans, Mathur said, “there will be these challenges. Indian forests can certainly accommodate more tigers since now we have also started taking care of corridors, are doing mitigation efforts in linear projects and have adopted a landscape approach to conservation…”
About the safety of these tigers found in new human-dominated landscapes, Mathur said, “the beauty of the Wildlife Protection Act is that it offers protection to wildlife wherever it is found. So, it should help.”