V-day to mark International Year of Tiger: Ramesh

India's offer in this regard was accepted at a meeting held at the prestigious Smithsonian Institute, which was attended by other agencies including the World Bank.

"Today India made the offer for launching the Year of the Tiger internationally on February 14, 2010 at Corbett," Ramesh said, adding the Year of Tiger would end in November 2010 with another tiger consultation in Ranthambore National Park.

"Both these events would showcase what India is doing in the field of tiger conservation," Ramesh told reporters in an interaction after the meeting. Ramesh said 60 per cent of the tigers in the wild in the world are in India. "No country in the world has as extensive conservation program as we have," he said.

The World Bank,  which has started a global tiger initiative, is very keen on supporting India in its tiger's initiative, said Ramesh.

"The President of the World Bank is personally very interested in this project. And today we discussed a possible World Bank support for livelihood security projects in the fringe areas of tiger reserves," he said.

Making a convincing presentation at the meeting, Ramesh said there could not be much progress to protect the tigers, the local communities' needs to be fully involved in the task of tiger conservation.

The World Bank President Robert B Zoellick would be visiting India in December, Ramesh said: "We are working on a possible World Bank project for improving livelihood security in a couple of States to begin with – Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, Kanha in Madhya Pradesh, Nagarhole in Karnataka and Kaziranga Assam."

"This would be a very major attempt in creating an incentive structure, which will reduce encroachment into tiger reserve areas," he said.

The Smithsonian has been training a large number of conservation biologist in India for last many years. It is particularly keen on a training program for conservation in our tiger reserves, the minister for Environment said.

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