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‘India can’t handle more big cats’

Topic covered:

  1. Conservation related issues.


‘India can’t handle more big cats’


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: International Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation, project tiger, global tiger initiative and Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP).


Context: With shrinking habitats, experts opine that India has almost neared its capacity to manage tigers. Therefore, India must also prepare for a new challenge — of reaching the limits of its management capacity.


Notable points:

  1. India’s current capacity to host tigers ranges from 2,500-3,000 tigers. Officially, India had 2,226 tigers as of 2014. An ongoing census is expected to reveal an update to these numbers.
  2. 25-35% of India’s tigers now lived outside protected reserves.
  3. Recent attempts at translocating tigers to unpopulated reserves, such as Satkosia in Orissa, have ended badly, with one of the tigers dying.


Main Challenges:

  • Dwindling core forest as well as the shrinking of tiger corridors.
  • Poaching and man-animal conflict.


Way ahead:

India has the maximum number of wild tigers in the world (70% of tigers in the world are in India). Therefore, it needs a fool-proof plan to manage the growing number of big cats.

Given the low availability of prey in some reserves, the country should now concentrate on developing vast tracts of potential tiger habitat that can be used to improve prey density, develop tiger corridors and therefore support a much larger population.


International Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation:

The 3rd Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation was recently inaugurated in New Delhi. Third in a series of Stock Taking Conferences, this is the second to be held in India after 2012 and is expected to have wide-ranging discussions on the status of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) by the 13 tiger range countries besides deliberations on combating wildlife trafficking.

13 Tiger range States—Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The conference is being hosted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in close collaboration with the Global Tiger Forum which is an International, Intergovernmental Organization for conserving tigers in the world.

Additional facts: During the St. Petersburg declaration in 2010, tiger range countries had resolved to double tiger numbers across their range by 2022.


Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: What conditions are necessary for tigers to live, breed and increase their population? Examine the role of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in conserving tiger population.