Tiger numbers have grown in India in 4yrs: Report
India's tiger population has gone up from 2,226 in the year 2014 to 2,967 in 2018, according to an official tiger census report released in India today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country has become "one of the biggest and safest habitats" for big cats.
"The results of the just-declared tiger census would make every Indian, every nature lover happy," Modi said while releasing the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 at his official residence, according to our New Delhi correspondent.
"Nine long years ago, it was decided in St. Petersburg (Russia) that the target (year) of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years early," Modi said.
"Today, we can say with pride that with about 3,000 tigers, India is among the biggest and safest habitats of tigers."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it was possible to strike a healthy balance between development and environment. "In our policies, in our economics, we have to change the conversation about conservation," he added.
"There is a very old debate - development or environment… And, both sides present views as if each is mutually exclusive. But we have to acknowledge the need for co-existence and understand the need for journey together," Modi said.
He said India will build more homes for its citizens and that the same time create quality habitats for animals. "India will have a vibrant marine economy and a healthier marine ecology," he added.
In his speech, Modi recalled two popular Bollywood films featuring super star Salman Khan and stressed the need for expanding tiger conservation and promotion efforts.
"I just want to tell the people associated with this work that the story which started with Ek Tha Tiger and reach Tiger Zinda Hai should not stop there. This will not work. The work towards tiger conservation has to be expanded and sped up," he said.
The release the results of the fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation – 2018 came four years after the previous such exercise.
The Tiger Estimation exercise is believed to be the world's largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage, intensity of sampling and quantum of camera trapping.
India conducts the All India Tiger Estimation every four years. Three cycles of the estimation have already been completed in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
The Indian government and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) have also carried out an economic valuation of tigers in mitigating the adverse impact of climate change. Such interventions and processes have been operationalized through a tiger conservation plan to ensure that it is institutionalized.