On World Tiger Day, 14 Indian tiger reserves get global accreditation

On World Tiger Day, 14 Indian tiger reserves get global accreditation

Hummingbird News Desk

NEW DELHI, 29 JULY: On the International Tiger Day, fourteen out of India’s 51 tiger reserves have received the prestigious global accreditation from Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CATS) for meeting a set of criteria for effective conservation of big cats.

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It was announced at the Global Tiger Day event held by the Union Environment Ministry in New Delhi today.

CATS is a globally accepted conservation tool that sets best practices and standards to manage tigers and assessments to benchmark progress. It is being implemented across 125 sites, including 94 in India, in seven tiger range countries.

The accreditation has been granted to 14 reserves in India, one each in Nepal, Bhutan, and Russia, the ministry officials said. The 14 reserves are Manas, Kaziranga, and Orang (Assam); Sundarbans (West Bengal); Valmiki (Bihar); Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh); Panna, Kanha, Satpuda and Pench (Madhya Pradesh); Anamalai and Mudumalai (Tamil Nadu); Parambikulam (Kerala) and Bandipur (Karnataka).

In 2010, India had 1,706 tigers. They more than doubled to 2,967 by 2018, according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

The Environment Minister also released the report ‘Status of Leopards, Co-predators and Megaherbivores-2018’ stating that the report is a testimony to the fact that conservation of tigers leads to the conservation of entire ecosystem.

During all India tiger estimation 2018, leopard population was also estimated within the forested habitats in tiger occupied states of the country. The overall leopard population in tiger range landscape of India in 2018 was estimated at 12,852 (SE range 12,172 – 13,535). This is a significant increase from the 2014, figure that was 7,910 (SE 6,566-9,181) in forested habitats of 18 tiger bearing states of the country.

CATS has been agreed upon as accreditation tool by the global coalition of Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) and has been developed by tiger and protected area experts. Officially launched in 2013, it sets minimum standards for effective management of target species and encourages assessment of these standards in relevant conservation areas. CATS is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation., the Ministry said in a statement.

Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav said all 51 tiger reserves should try to achieve the status. “Tiger conservation involves saving the entire ecosystem, not just the tiger. Tiger is a symbol. Topography or tiger landscape and tiger corridors also need to be protected. Tigers also use international corridors with neighbouring countries. We should renew dialogues with these countries. Finally, public participation is very important and forest departments should recognise local conservation practices,” he said. “We have to be cautious about the impact of ecotourism. Ecotourism will increase but with improved sensitivity for nature.”

RP Gupta, secretary (environment), said it is interesting that the three most popular tiger reserves—Bandhavgarh, Corbett, and Ranthambore–are not on the list of reserves that have been granted accreditation. “The three most popular ones also have the highest tourist footfalls which may be a factor,” he said.

Addressing the event, Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav said: “We are not owners, but we are the trustees of this natural inheritance. We are the trustees of the country, of the nature and of the local community too. We need to acknowledge the contribution of the local community in tiger conservation.”

He also appealed to the Ministry staff and forest field staff to recognise the indigenous knowledge of the community along with the scientific knowledge.

Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ashwini Chaubey said: “We have traditionally valued and worshipped all living beings.” He went on to recount a story from mythology related to Parvati and how she took upon tiger as her ‘vahan’ (ride) and drew parallel for lessons in conservations.

Environment, Forests and Climate Change Secretary C.K. Mishra said: “While India has been successful in conserving the wildlife by and large, the situation continues to remain worrisome due to habitat destruction, illegal trafficking etc.”

On the occasion of International Tiger Day on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted that India has achieved the target of doubling the tiger population four years ahead of the schedule under the St Petersburg Declaration.

In the 2010 declaration, 13 countries, including India, agreed to a Global Tiger Recovery Programme and pledged to strive to double the number of tigers by 2022 by “doing everything possible to effectively manage, preserve, protect, and enhance habitats.”

“India is home to 51 tiger reserves spread across 18 states. The last tiger census of 2018 showed a rise in the tiger population. India achieved the target of doubling of tiger population 4 years ahead of schedule of the St. Petersburg Declaration on tiger Conservation,” Modi tweeted.

Tags: #CATS #14TigerReserves #GlobalAccreditation #InternationalTigerDay #GlobalTigerDay

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