Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the 50th anniversary program of ‘Tiger Conservation Project’ at University of Mysore in Mysuru, Karnataka. The Prime Minister also launched the International Tiger Confederation (IPCA). Releasing the 5th Seasonal Reports of Tiger Reserve Management Performance Assessment “Tiger Conservation in the Amrita Era”, the Prime Minister announced the tiger population and also released the All India Tiger Assessment (5th Seasonal) report. He also released a commemorative coin to mark 50 years of the Tiger Conservation Programme.
Addressing the event, the Prime Minister noted the increasing number of tigers in India and paid respect to the tigers by standing up. The Prime Minister mentioned that everyone is witnessing the important event of completing 50 years of the Tiger Conservation Program and the success of the program is not only a matter of pride for India but also for the entire world. The Prime Minister also said that India has provided an environment where tigers can live well and prevent the decline of tiger population. Prime Minister expressed happiness that India has 75% of the world’s tigers in its 75th year of independence. The prime minister said that India’s tiger reserves cover an area of 75,000 square kilometers and it is a coincidence that the number of tigers in the country has increased by 75 percent in the last ten to twelve years.
The Prime Minister said that the question has arisen in the minds of wildlife enthusiasts around the world as to how the number of tigers has increased in India alone compared to other countries and said that the answer lies in India’s tradition and culture. “India does not believe in conflict between environment and economy and gives equal importance to both,” the Prime Minister noted. Recalling the importance of tigers in Indian history, the Prime Minister mentioned that paintings of tigers are found in ten thousand year old rock paintings in Madhya Pradesh. The Prime Minister mentioned that the Pariah community from Central India and the Orli community from Maharashtra worship the tiger as a deity and many communities in India consider the tiger as a friend and brother. The Prime Minister also pointed out that deities like Durga and Ayyappan ride on tigers.
Noting India’s unique achievements in wildlife conservation, the Prime Minister said, “India is a country where nature conservation is part of its culture.” He also noted that India, with only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area, contributes 8 percent of global biodiversity. in the world
Mentioning that India is one of the countries with the largest number of tigers, the Prime Minister said that India is one of the countries with the largest number of Asian elephants in the world with approximately thirty thousand elephants and nearly 3 thousand one-horned rhinoceros. The Prime Minister said that India is the only country in the world with Asiatic lions and its population has increased from around 525 in 2015 to 675 in 2020. The Prime Minister also said that the number of leopards in India has increased by more than 60 percent in 4 years. Mentioning that work is underway to clean up rivers like the Ganges, the Prime Minister also said that the number of some aquatic species, once considered endangered, has increased. He attributed these achievements to people’s participation and culture.
Mentioning the steps taken by India for environmental protection, the Prime Minister said, “Environmental prosperity is important for the protection of wildlife.” The Prime Minister also said that 11 more wetlands have been added to the list of Ramsar sites, taking the total number of Ramsar sites to 75. The Prime Minister also mentioned that in 2021 India will have an increase of 2,200 square kilometers of forests and trees as compared to 2019. The Prime Minister also said that in the last decade, the number of community forests has increased from 43 to over 100. The Prime Minister also said that the number of National Parks and Sanctuaries declared as Eco-Sensitive Zones has increased from 9 to 468 in the last 10 years.
The Prime Minister highlighted the steps taken by him for the protection of wildlife while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat and also mentioned the steps taken by him for the protection of lions. The Prime Minister also highlighted the need to create emotional and economic ties between local people and animals. The Prime Minister also recalled the Mitra scheme, which provides cash rewards to poaching watchers in Gujarat. The Prime Minister also mentioned the opening of a lion rehabilitation center in Gir Forest and appointment of women rangers in the forest department. The Prime Minister also pointed out the existing tourism situation of the Gir forests.
The Prime Minister said that the success of the Tiger Conservation Program is multi-dimensional and has led to increased tourist arrivals, awareness programs and reduction of man-animal conflicts in tiger reserves. “The presence of tigers has had a positive impact on the lives and ecology of local people in various areas,” the Prime Minister said.
Recalling the near extinction of the leopard in India many years ago, the Prime Minister also recalled the successful transcontinental translocation of leopards from Namibia and South Africa to India, the first time in the world.
He recalled the birth of 4 beautiful leopard cubs in Kuno National Park a few days ago. He also said that the leopard, which became extinct 75 years ago, has been born in Indian soil. He also emphasized the importance of international cooperation in biodiversity conservation.
The Prime Minister said, “Wildlife conservation is not a national issue, but an international issue” and emphasized the need for international cooperation. In 2019, on International Tiger Day, the Prime Minister noted that the International Tiger Federation is an extension of his call for a coalition against poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia. Enumerating the benefits of the scheme, the Prime Minister said that it would be easier to mobilize financial and technical assistance for the entire ecosystem associated with tiger species to implement conservation measures from the experiences of various countries, including India. “The International Tiger Federation will focus on the conservation of the world’s 7 major tiger species: tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and chihuahua,” the prime minister explained. Through this, member countries can share their experiences, help their fellow country quickly and give importance to research, training and capacity building, he said. “Let’s work together to save these species from extinction and create a safe and healthy environment for them,” the Prime Minister said.
Addressing the theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ under the leadership of India’s G-20, the Prime Minister explained that a better future for humanity is possible only when biodiversity is increased along with environmental protection. “This responsibility rests with all of us, the entire world,” the Prime Minister said. Noting that India had set big goals at the COP-26 meeting, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that those goals could be achieved through mutual cooperation.
The Prime Minister also asked the foreign guests attending the function to learn many things from the lifestyle and traditions of India’s tribal community. Referring to the Sahyadri and Western Ghats regions where the tribals live, he said they have been working to protect every living thing, including the tiger, for centuries. He also emphasized on adopting the tradition of tribal society which balances taking from nature and giving back to it. Referring to the Oscar-winning documentary ‘The Elephant Whispers’, he concluded his speech by saying that the film reflects our heritage on the wonderful relationship between nature and creatures.
The Prime Minister concluded his speech by saying, “The way of life of the tribal community greatly helps in understanding the vision of Mission Life (LiFE) i.e. lifestyle for environment”.
In this event, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mr. Bhupender Yadav, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mr. Ashwini Kumar Choubey and others participated.
The Prime Minister launched the International Tiger Confederation (IPCA). In July 2019, Prime Minister Modi called for a coalition of international leaders to curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia. To take this forward, the International Tiger Federation is launched to focus on the conservation of the world’s seven big cats. Countries that have tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and chihuahua are members of this confederation.