State tops in tiger conservation: World Bank
By Imran Khan
02 Mar 2009 04:19:00 AM IST
BANGALORE: Impresed with Karnataka’s active population of around 300 tigers, the state has been declared world leader in tiger conservation by World Bank and Washington-based Smithsonian Institute.
World Bank says that though the tiger population in the world has come down to around 4000, India, especially Karnataka, has been maintaining a steady growth in the tiger population.
Last week, officials and scientists from the two institutions were in city to meet government and forest officials, to know the conservation methods followed by the state for the steady growth in the tiger numbers. Speaking to Express, principal secretary, forest and ecology, Meera Saksena said, “World Bank officials have shown interest in funding a project. However, nothing has been finalised,” she said.
Giving details of the meeting, secretary, forest and ecology, Swaminathan said, “Yes, they came to learn from us the conservation method employed by us.” The team wanted Karnataka to play a lead role in this regard, Swaminathan informed.
He further said, “A fortnight ago, officials from the 13th Finance Commission were also here. They were also very impressed with the way tigers are protected here,” he said. On a note of caution, he said, “But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any problems. There are many. But inspite of them the tigers are doing well,” he said.
Swaminathan highlighted the fact that a committee chaired by the prime minister periodically monitors tiger conservation measures in the country.
The committee so far has allocated Rs 600 crore for tiger conservation over a five-year period, with Rs 50 crore committed for the financial year 2008-09 to set up the Tiger Protection Force.
For these reasons, the World Bank and the Smithsonian Institute think that India may offer the last hope for the tiger, he added.
Tigers are found in around 17 countries in the world now. From 1,00,000 a century ago, the number has dwindled to only 4000 now. India has the highest number at around 1400, followed by Siberia with 500 tigers. Karnataka has a fourth of India’s tiger population. It has around 300 tigers in the wild and around 55 in the Bannerghatta Zoo.