At the 3rd Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation held in New Delhi, PM Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for the protection of the tiger species. At the inaugural of this three-day conference, which was attended by more than 700 tiger experts, scientists, managers, donors and other stakeholders, PM emphasized numerous tiger related issues that have been hindering the conservation of this endangered species.
Pointing out the fact that the tiger habitats have reduced drastically across tiger range countries, the Prime Minister urged the need of discussing key issues including anti-poaching strategies with the tiger range countries. He also highlighted that conservation has been hindered by aggravated cases of trafficking in tiger body parts and derivatives of this magnificent animal. “A major threat to the tiger is the demand for its body parts. The forest and its wild denizens are an open treasury which cannot be locked up. It is painful to learn about trafficking of body parts of tigers and other big cats. We need to collaborate at the highest levels of governments to address the serious issues”, stated the Indian Prime Minister. In his inaugural session speech, PM Modi also said that “In India too we have been facing the challenge of poaching. The positive side for us in India is that the majority of people respect trees, animals, forest, and rivers. They consider the earth as mother and the universe as one family.”
Modi proposed calling Tigers as the ‘Natural Capital’ and showed an urgent need of collaborating with the government at the highest level to put a check on the trafficking of tiger body parts. “We can achieve a framework to foster proactive engagement of industry for conservation. The natural capital denoting the stock of natural system should be treated at par with capital goods. Our economy needs to be viewed as a subset of a larger economy of natural resources and ecosystem services which sustain us,” he said. Denying tiger conservation as ‘anti-growth’ and ‘drag on development,’ the Prime Minister underlined the need to define conservation as a means to achieve development and to re-orient strategy in the sectors where tiger conservation is not the goal.
It is to be noted that the state of Kerala bagged two of the five awards for tiger reserves at the 3rd Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation. The awards were won by the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) for best anti-poaching practices and the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve for community participation in eco-tourism.
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