Hyderabad: In another effort to increase India`s tiger population, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has advised states to create seven more tiger reserves and has accorded approval-in-principle for five of them.
If all seven new reserves are created, this would take the total number of tiger reserves in the country to 49.
NTCA member secretary Rajesh Gopal told an event during the ongoing United Nations biodiversity conference here that the 42nd tiger reserve was created in Kawal on the border between Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
NTCA also plans to create a national data base of tigers. "Each tiger will be given an identification number so that we know if any tiger is missing or is killed," he said.
Gopal said 41 tiger reserves, which occupy 82,000 square km across 17 states, constitute two percent of the country`s total geographical area. The potential habitat of tigers is 300,000 square km.
Gopal said various measures taken under Project Tiger since 1973 had led to increase in the number of tigers.
The total number of tigers has gone up from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010.
Environment and Forests Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who inaugurated the event, said unmanned aircraft could also be used for tiger conservation. She has already announced the use of unmanned aircraft to check poaching of rhinos in Kaziranga National Park.
She said as part of the efforts for tiger conservation, the government was ready to give financial assistance to communities which were willing to voluntarily shift from the site.
Experts pointed out that six of the 12 tiger landscapes in the world are in India. India has more than half of the 3,200 tigers globally.
The meet also discussed international cooperation for tiger conservation. Officials of Global Tiger Forum (GTF), an inter-governmental international body to protect tigers, said the Russian Federation had agreed to become the eighth member of the GTF while China was also likely to join the group soon.
Nuritdin Inamov, director, department of international cooperation in Russia`s ministry of natural resources and environment, spoke about the initiatives taken since the tiger summit held in 2010.
All 13 tiger range countries have agreed to double the tiger population from 3,200 to 6,000 by 2022. Inamov said that while the governments committed $127 million for tiger conservation, the programme still required $350 million.