Tigers endangered in half of reserves - govt

NEW DELHI Wed Dec 9, 2009 5:24pm IST

A two-and-a half years old female tigress named 'T-17' is seen at the Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan  in this January 15, 2009. Tigers are in a ''very, very precarious'' state and could disappear altogether in nearly half of India's tiger reserves, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Vijay Mathur/Files

A two-and-a half years old female tigress named 'T-17' is seen at the Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan in this January 15, 2009. Tigers are in a ''very, very precarious'' state and could disappear altogether in nearly half of India's tiger reserves, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday.

Credit: Reuters/Vijay Mathur/Files

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Tigers are in a "very, very precarious" state and could disappear altogether in nearly half of India's tiger reserves, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Wednesday.

India is a key player in efforts to conserve the dwindling global tiger population, which has plummeted to just a few thousand. Wildlife experts say tigers could be extinct in 20 years.

Illegal poaching, fuelled by a thriving trade in tiger parts, and natural habitat loss drove down numbers in India from about 40,000 a century ago to 1,411 at the last count in 2008.

Ramesh said out of 38 government-monitored tiger reserves, 12 were in good condition and nine were satisfactory.

"Seventeen are in a very, very, very precarious state," he said. He did not specify how many tigers were at risk.

"You could have a Panna or a Sariska in any of these 17 at any point of time," he said, referring to two well-known reserves which lost their tiger populations.

A special panel set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in 2006 thousands of villagers inside India's reserves would have to be relocated to protect tigers from poachers and smugglers.

Poaching is very profitable and poor villagers often help poachers in return for much-needed cash, while villagers also often cut down forests where tigers live to use as farmland.

Although the government has paid compensation to uprooted families, Ramesh said they were sometimes moved to underdeveloped areas where they were not able to make a proper living.

"We have to relocate 100,000 from these 38 reserves if we are to save the tiger," he told reporters.

"Only about 3,000 have been relocated so far." It is not enough to give them money. We also have to provide livelihood security for them," Ramesh said.

India must also strengthen policing along its borders with Nepal and Myanmar to control the illegal trade in animal parts, Ramesh said. New Delhi also wants China to phase out tiger farms, which it says operate in violation of international agreements and fuel demand in India.

The international police organisation Interpol estimates illegal wildlife trade may be worth more than $20 billion a year.

Tiger parts are often used in Chinese medicine, where conservationists say everything from whiskers to eyes and bones are used. Tiger fur is also highly valued.

Ramesh said he had recently rejected a proposed coal mining project in a tiger reserve.

(Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Paul Tait)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Republic Day

Reuters Showcase

RK Laxman Dead

RK Laxman Dead

'Common Man' cartoonist RK Laxman dead at 93  Full Article 

Banking Revolution

Banking Revolution

India turns to corner shops, mobile phones for banking revolution.  Full Article 

Nuclear Group

Nuclear Group

China urges India to take steps to satisfy standards of NSG  Full Article 

Gold Market

Gold Market

Chinese gold demand holds up ahead of holiday, Indian buying weak  Full Article 

India-U.S. Relations

India-U.S. Relations

Column - U.S. and India should join to balance China's rise  Full Article 

Padma Bhushan

Padma Bhushan

India honours Bill Gates with civilian award  Full Article 

Fashionable Modi

Fashionable Modi

When Modi met Obama, his name was all over - his suit  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Obama reveals nuclear breakthrough on landmark India trip  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Venus fireworks illuminate Australia Day  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage