India’s biodiversity key to growing tiger population: PM Modi

9 April, 2023 | Pragati Singh

tiger National

Project Tiger is a source of pride not only for India but also for the rest of the world.

Citing the country’s expanding tiger population, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that India’s tradition and culture, as well as the country’s biodiversity, were among the key reasons for this achievement. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Commemoration of Project Tiger’. PM Modi stressed the importance of wildlife protection during the inaugural session of the commemoration of ’50 Years of Project Tiger’ in Mysuru.

“Project Tiger leads the way in the protection and conservation of the big cats. International Big Cat Alliance is our endeavour for the protection and conservation of big cats,” he said.

PM Modi stated that the success of Project Tiger is a source of pride not only for India but also for the rest of the world. India has not only protected tigers but also provided an ecosystem in which they can thrive.

During its 75th anniversary of independence, India added 11 wetlands to its Ramsar list. According to him, this brings the overall number of Ramsar sites to 75.
The Prime Minister stated that ecosystems must thrive for animals to thrive, and this has occurred in the country.

PM Modi said, “A better future for humanity is possible only when our environment remains safe and our biodiversity continues to expand. This responsibility belongs to all of us, it belongs to the whole world. We are continuously encouraging this spirit during our G20 presidency.”

He said India is a country where protecting nature is part of the culture.
Prime Minister Modi said, “When their population is stable or decreasing in many tiger reserve countries, then why is it increasing rapidly in India? This is because of the tradition and culture of India and the biodiversity in the Indian society, as well as our natural urge for the environment.”

“With only 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area, India contributes about 8 per cent of known global biodiversity. India is home to the largest tiger range country in the world. We do not believe in the conflict between ecology and economy, but give importance to co-existence between the two,” he said.

According to PM Modi, the number of community reserves has expanded from 43 to over 100 in the recent decade. In a decade, the number of national parks and sanctuaries surrounded by eco-sensitive zones climbed from 9 to 468, he said.

The success of Project Tiger is a source of pride not only for India, but for the entire globe, he said, noting that India is home to around 75% of the world’s tiger population.

According to Prime Minister Modi, India is the only country in the world with Asiatic lions. In India, the lion population has expanded from 525 in 2015 to 675 by 2020. In just four years, the leopard population increased by more than 60%.

Referring to ‘Project Cheetah’, PM Modi said, “Cheetahs had become extinct in India decades ago. We brought this magnificent big cat to India from Namibia and South Africa. This is the first successful trans-continental translocation of the big cat. A few days ago, four beautiful cubs were born in Kuno National Park,” he said.

He emphasised that the existence of Big Cats has had a good impact on the lives and ecosystems of people all over the world. Because of the Big Cats, the PM claims that the number of tourists visiting Tiger Reserves has increased, which has boosted the local economy.

He further said, “The lifestyle of the tribal society also helps a lot in understanding the vision of ‘Mission Life’ ie Lifestyle for Environment. That is why I request all of you to definitely take something from the life and tradition of tribal society for your country and society.”

“The Elephant Whispers documentary that won an Oscar also reflects our legacy of the wonderful relationship between nature and creatures. I urge you (foreign dignitaries) to take something from the life and tradition of our tribal society,” added PM Modi.

The Prime Minister established the International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA) in Karnataka on Sunday with the goal of reducing poaching and illegal wildlife trading. During the programme, he released ‘Amrit Kaal Ka Vision for Tiger Conservation,’ a summary report of the 5th cycle of Management Effective Assessment of Tiger Reserves.

He also made available a summary report of the All India Tiger Estimate (5th cycle). PM Modi also unveiled a commemorative coin marking the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger. He met with the field directors of the tiger reserves who received the highest scores in the recently completed 5th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Assessment exercise.

The IBCA, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), will focus on the protection and conservation of the world’s seven principal big cats: the Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah.
In July 2019, Prime Minister Modi called for a Global Leaders Coalition to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia.