India to protect dwindling tigers
(UKPA) – July 28, 2009
India is to amend its wildlife crime laws to protect the country's tigers, a government minister said.
Environment and forest minister Jairam Ramesh said that speeding up justice as well as hefty fines are needed to strengthen the Wildlife Protection Act.
He added that the forest ministry, state governments and a separate authority on the management of tiger reserves had agreed to work together to ensure conservation of the endangered animal.
Nearly 80,000 to 100,000 families inhabiting core areas of tiger reserves will be relocated and given £12,500 each as part of the measures.
The minister said that nearly six million hectares of land will be brought under green cover within the next six years, since funds to create more forests had recently been released.
This will increase the habitat area for tigers, who prefer to live and hunt in thick vegetation.
Earlier Mr Ramesh sounded the alarm for seven tiger reserves in the country which are threatened by decreasing population.
"The tiger population in these reserves is going down and the protection measures are poor," Mr Ramesh said.
"Unless we take immediate steps, we will lose the tigers in these reserves."
Poaching is suspected to be rampant in at least three of the seven reserves which are losing tigers.