New Delhi: On Monday, India will know how many tigers it really has when the latest tiger census is released. The new estimates are expected to be better than the 1,411 reported in 2008, say experts.
The census will be released at the March 28-30 international tiger conference at Vigyan Bhawan here. Some 200 delegates, including officials from 13 tiger range countries and experts from international organisations, will participate.
The meet will be hosted by Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh.
The conference is a follow up to the St Petersburg meet held last year in Russia, and will discuss challenges, plans and priorities for implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP), which aims to double the wild tiger population by 2022.
It is being organised in collaboration with the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), an inter-governmental body that also has membership of national and international NGOs and the World Bank`s Global Tiger Initiative (GTI).
Besides the census report, a film on India`s 30 years since the launch of Project Tiger will be released at the conference.
The National Tiger Action Plan of 13 tiger range countries and a book by celebrated tiger conservationists Ullas Karanth, "Science of Tiger", will also be launched.
The chief ministers of at least five tiger range states and field directors of all tiger reserves are expected to attend the meet.
"The good news is that we can save the tiger," said Azzedine Downes, executive vice president of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) that was designated an official NGO partner to facilitate the implementation of the tiger recovery programme.
"To do so, the world community must find new ways of working together and the political will to translate talk into action. The global action plan`s goal to double the wild tiger population by 2022 is a positive step in that direction," Downes said in a statement.
According to the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), poaching, illegal trade of body parts of tigers and habitat degradation have sharply reduced the number of world`s tigers, which is now about 3,000, a 97 percent drop since the 1900s.
The man-animal conflict has emerged as one of the key challenges to tiger conservation, particularly in India, home to half the world`s tiger population, the organisation said.