India is willing to donate tiger cubs to the international community and play a key role in global efforts for the conservation of the endangered species, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said today as the country reported a jump in its big cat population.
"India is willing to donate tiger cubs to the international community and play a key role in global tiger conservation efforts," Javadekar said at the inauguration of a two-day meet of chief wildlife wardens of tiger states and field directors of tiger reserves.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) officials maintained that there are countries like Cambodia and Laos which have informally approached India regarding this. They said that although the details are being worked out, nothing has been done formally about it.
As per the latest census report, the tiger population has risen to 2,226 in 2014, a 30 per cent rise since the last count in 2010.
NTCA member secretary Rajesh Gopal said that in countries like Cambodia, tigers have become extinct and these have informally sought India's cooperation to reverse the situation.
Javadekar said that countries have asked for India's help as they have understood that there is a need to save the species which can become extinct.
"Many countries have asked us for help. It is because the world has understood that there is a need to save this species which may become extinct... whichever country wants tigers from us or wants our cooperation (for tiger conservation), we are ready to give both," Javadekar said.
The government has termed the rise in the tiger population a "success story" with their numbers leaping by more than 800 in less than 10 years from 1,411 in 2006.
Officials said that although the numbers have risen, states like Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh can accommodate 1,000 more tigers in the coming days.
Javadekar credited initiatives like the crack down on poaching, community partnership and minimisation of human- animal conflict as being the factors which have contributed to the rise in the tiger population.
Meanwhile, asked whether India was contemplating whether to charge a fee from other countries for giving them tiger cubs, the minister said that all these issues would come later.