Saturday, 26 July 2014

Workshop on Tiger conservation : Celebration of the advent of International Tiger Day:July 26,2014(Saturday)

Today (July26,2014;Saturday), we celebrated the advent of International Tiger Day by holding a workshop on  tiger conservation .International Tiger Day  is on 29th July . Minister of State for Zoological Parks , U.P. was the chief guest.The Keynote speaker was Sri Ravi Singh,SG and CEO , WWF , India. There were  other eminent speakers like Ms. Prerna Bindra,Dr. Dipankar Ghosh(WWF India),Mr Samir Sinha, Dr. Diwakar Chapagaine ,who  made informative presentations  during the technical session.What I spoke as Principal Secretary (Forests and Environment,U.P.) is  as follows.
                                             In 2010, during the Tiger Summit , held in Saint Petersberg,tiger range countries took two important decisions:
1.In every country ,  29th July every year  be celebrated as International Tiger day , to create an  awareness about  tigers .
2.Goal of doubling tiger population by 2022, be fixed.
The population of tigers in 1900 was 100,000 but it dwindled to about 3000 by 2010.This is about 3% of the level of 1900.Tiger has become a threatened species.
                                           Wild  Tigers are found in 14 countries of Asia, and nowhere else in the world.The largest number of wild tigers is in India.The country wise tiger population is as below:
1.India :1706
2.Malaysia :500
3.Bangla Desh:440
4.Russia:360
5.Indinesia:325
6.Thai land:200
7.Nepal:155
8.Myanmar:85
9.Bhutan:75
10.China:45
11.Cambodia:20
 12.Vietnam:20
13.Laos:17
14.South Korea:Not available
Total:3948
             Tiger is the national animal of  five countries:
1.India
2.Malaysia
3.Bangla Desh
4.Vietnam
5.South Korea
Why tiger numbers have come down so drastically?
Three reasons are attributed:
1.Habitat destruction.
2.Habitat fragmentation.
3.Poaching .
I wondered if Darwin's principle was also at play, which says that it is not the strongest who survive .It is the fittest , who have the ability to adapt to the changes , survive.(Later on , experts informed that tiger is a highly adaptable animal.)
                   Tiger has found an eminent place in myths , legends, literature , arts and culture of many countries including India.For instance:
1.Goddess Durga rides on a tiger.
2.Tiger is one of the animals  displayed on the Pashupati Seal of the Indus Valley Civilization .
3.William Blake wrote the classical poem 'The Tyger".
4.Yann Martel wrote the book" Life of Pi", which has also been made into a movie.
5.Aravind Adiga wrote the best seller and Booker Prize winner book "The White Tiger".He used the metaphor of tiger to describe a modern Indian hero,Balram Halwai, who has risen out of poverty and under development.
        In U.P., Dudhwa was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958.It was notified as a national park in 1977,largely due to the efforts of Billi Arjan Singh, a conservationist of U.P. .It was declared a tiger reserve in 1987.Dudhwa Tiger reserve covers Dudhwa National park,Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary and Katarnia Ghat wildlife sanctuary.
                 In 2012,Amangarh,with an area of 80.6 Sq Kms,was declared second Tiger reserve.
                     On 26th February,2014,U.P. Cabinet approved the proposal to declare Pilibhit as third Tiger Reserve of U.P., with an area of 3000Sq. Kms.Pilibhit Tiger reserve is thus far bigger than even Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.
                     There are six areas to work ,for conservation of tigers.These are:
1.Protection of habitat.
2.Fighting wildlife crimes.
3.Building capacity for  management.
4.Reducing demand for tiger meat/bones/teeth and claws.
5.Engaging local communities,especially in human - tiger conflict.
6Drawing on the expertise of global conservation community in technology and innovation.
               What is needed is a coordinated  action of:
1.Governments.
2.International agencies.
3.civil Society.
4.Private sector.
         U.P. Tiger Conservation Society has been doing good work in creating awareness, building capacities and adopting innovative measures like promoting technology  for tiger conservation.I congratulate National Tiger Conservation Society, WWF,WTI , WCT and all individuals who are working towards tiger conservation .