India’s tiger population surges due to conservation efforts

The Week
21 January 2015

India has reported a significant surge in its tiger population, with numbers rising by 30 per cent in the last four years due to conservation programmes.

“While the tiger population is falling in the world, it is rising in India. This is great news,” said the country’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar. According to the latest census, there were 2,226 tigers in India last year compared to just 1,706 in 2010.

Javadekar claimed the increase in the country’s tiger population was a testament to the success of government conservation policies and said that India was ready to play a larger role in global tiger conservation, the BBC reports.

Measures including the creation of a specialist Tiger Protection Force to combat poaching, action to prevent humans from encroaching into the tigers’ habitat and better management of the country’s 40 tiger reserves have been introduced in recent years.

Tigers are widely targeted by poachers who hunt them for their meat and skin. The animal’s body parts are also sold to China’s lucrative traditional medicine market. India was thought to have more than 40,000 tigers when it gained independence from Britain in 1947.

However, environmentalists have raised concerns that the conservation measures may not continue under India’s new government which came to power in May last year and has “diluted environmental safeguards as it pushes for faster economic growth” according to Quartz India.

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