India’s tiger population ‘has grown to 3,000’ after years of effort

KOLKATA, INDIA - JULY 29: A white tiger is seen on International Tiger Day, at Alipore Zoo  on July 29, 2019 in Kolkata, India. According to All India Tiger Estimation report 2018The tiger population in the country in the year 2018 was recorded as 2,967. (Photo by Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
A white tiger is seen on International Tiger Day, at Alipore Zoo on July 29, 2019 in Kolkata, India (Photo by Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The number of tigers in India has grown to nearly 3,000 after years of conservation efforts - more than double the figure of 15 years ago.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the tiger population was 2,226 in the last count, in 2014.

The figures follow years of conservation efforts, sanctuaries in national parks, and laws which made it a crime to kill tigers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modsaid it's a 'historic achievement' for India

'With around 3,000 tigers, India has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for them in the world,' Modi said, praising all the stakeholders involved in the country's tiger conservation exercise.

'Nine years ago, it was decided in St. Petersburg (Russia) that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years in advance,' Modi said.

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He also said that the number of protected areas in the country rose to 860 last year from 692 in 2014.

Similarly, the number of community reserves has gone up to 100 from 43 in 2014.

Belinda Wright, founder of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, based in New Delhi, said India should be very proud of its conservation achievement as the latest study was a much larger and more thorough estimation of the tiger population than had previously been done.

'But we still have a long way to go to secure a long-term future for wild tigers,' she cautioned, adding that human-tiger conflict was one of the biggest conservation challenges because India has so many people.

The conflict between wildlife, confined to ever-shrinking forests and grasslands, and India's human population is deadly. Government data show about one person is killed every day by tigers or elephants.

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