4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation

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    In News 

    • Recently, the Union Environment Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change highlighted various aspects of India’s successful tiger conservation effort at the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation.

    About 

    • The Government of Malaysia and Global Tiger Forum (GTF) has organized the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation.
    • It is an important event for reviewing progress towards the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and commitments to tiger conservation.

    Achievements made by India 

    •  India has achieved the remarkable feat of doubling the tiger population in 2018 itself, 4 years ahead of the targeted year 2022, 
    • The model of success of India’s tiger governance is now being replicated for other wildlife like the Lion, Dolphin, Leopard, Snow Leopard and other small wild cats, while the country is on the threshold of introducing Cheetah in its historical range.
    • The natural resources-dependent community is an important aspect of tiger conservation and the “people agenda” ranks prominently in India’s conservation efforts.
    • Recent initiative: 
      • The budgetary allocation for tiger conservation has increased from Rs 185 crore in 2014 to Rs 300 crore in 2022 and  14 Tiger Reserves in India have already been awarded international CATS accreditation and efforts are on to bring in more Tiger Reserves under CATS accreditation.
        • CATS is a globally accepted conservation tool that sets best practices and standards to manage tigers and assessments to benchmark progress. 
      • The  Frontline staff constitutes an important pillar of tiger conservation and hence the government has extended Rs 2 lakh life cover to each contractual/temporary worker under e-Sharm and Rs 5 lakh health cover under Ayushman Yojana.
      • Approximately 4.3 million man-days of employment are being generated by 51 Tiger Reserves in India and funds from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) are being utilized for promoting voluntary village resettlement from core areas of the Tiger Reserves.

    Importance of Tigers 

    • India is home to over 70% of the tiger population globally.
    • Tigers, the top predators in the ecosystem, are vital in regulating and perpetuating ecological processes.
    •  Ensuring the conservation of this top carnivore guarantees the wellbeing of forested ecosystems, the biodiversity they represent as well as water and climate security.
    • In India, tigers inhabit a wide variety of habitats ranging from the high mountains, mangroves swamps, tall grasslands, to dry and moist deciduous forests, as well as evergreen forest systems. 
      • By virtue of this, the tiger is not only a conservation icon but also it is an umbrella species for the majority of the ecosystem in the Indian subcontinent.

    Threats faced by tigers

    • Poaching: Every single part of the tiger is traded in illegal markets. It is used in traditional Asian medicine which has no medicinal value at all, making the deaths of these animals for this purpose unnecessary.
    • Habitat Loss: Tigers have lost 93% of their historical range as their habitat has been destroyed or degraded by human activity.
    • Human-Wildlife Conflict: With smaller forests to hunt in, tigers are forced to kill livestock and when they do the farmers often retaliate and kill the big cat.

    Tiger Conservation Efforts  

    • Lidar-based survey technology: It is being used for the first time to deal with the challenge of human-animal conflict that was causing the death of animals.
      • Lidar is a method of measuring distance by illuminating the target with laser light and measuring the reflection with a sensor.
    • Official training: The National Tiger Conservation Authority has authorised official training to deal with emergencies arising due to tigers straying into human-dominated landscapes, tiger depredation on livestock and to work towards active rehabilitation of tigers.
    • Policy and management: The major changes are made in the policy and management of tiger populations to fully implement provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 like
      • Tiger landscape conservation plans,
      • Designation and notification of inviolate critical core and buffer areas of tiger reserves.
      •  Identification and declaration of new tiger reserves.
      • Recognition of tiger landscapes and the importance of the corridors and their physical delineation at the highest levels of governance, and
      • Integrating tiger conservation with developmental activities using the power of reliable information in a Geographic Information System database.
    • Project Tiger: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
      • It provides central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves. 
    • International Collaboration
      • India has signed a protocol on conservation of tigers with China and a Memorandum of Understanding with Bangladesh on conservation of the Sundarbans. 
      • Also, the Cabinet has given the nod to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Myanmar to combat timber trafficking and conservation of tigers and other wildlife
      • Besides bilateral engagements are being carried out with Bhutan, Nepal and Cambodia. 
      • The Government of Guatemala has solicited collaboration with the Govt. of India to safeguard their Jaguar population
      • A tripartite, institute level has been signed between the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and the A. N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences for tiger conservation.
    • Upcoming events
      • India will facilitate Tiger Range Countries towards the finalisation of the New Delhi declaration for the Global Tiger Summit to be held at Vladivostok, Russia later this year (2022). 
        • A “Pre-Tiger Summit” meeting was held at New Delhi in 2010, wherein the draft declaration on tiger conservation for Global Tiger Summit was finalised
    • Global Efforts for Tiger Conservation
      • Tigers are now globally listed as “endangered” on the International Union for the conversion of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.
      • The Global Tiger Forum (GTF), an international NGO working on tiger conservation, and World Wildlife Fund India are the two implementing partners of the National Tiger Conservation Authority for CATS assessment in India.
        • India is one of the Founding members of the intergovernmental platform of Tiger Range Countries – Global Tiger Forum, and over the years, GTF has expanded its programme on multiple thematic areas, while working closely with the Government of India, tiger states in India and tiger range countries.
      • International Tiger Day: The 29th of July marks International Tiger Day.

    Source:PIB