Now, India set to export tigers to Cambodia

Now, India set to export tigers to Cambodia

Out of 3,890 big cats in the world, India houses as many as 2,226

Now, India set to export tigers to Cambodia

With a healthy growth in tiger population in the last five years, India is now ready to export them to other nations that are short of the big cats.

At the Asian ministerial conference on tiger conservation here, Cambodia explored the possibility and received positive response from the India’s side, though the final decision has not been taken.

“India is ready to help all non-tiger country. We are in a position to export. But we have not taken any decision on sending tigers to Cambodia,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said here at the conclusion of the conference attended by 13 nations.

A new global tiger report highlighted the first ever worldwide growth in tiger population in a century riding high on increased Indian tiger count. Out of 3,890 wild tigers in the world, India houses as many as 2,226, almost 60% of the global population.

Released earlier this week, the report notes no tiger is left in the wild in Cambodia. The claim, however, has been challenged by a Cambodian official who attended the conference.

“We have about 20 tigers in the jungle, but we are looking forwards to India to receive its tigers to increase the population in two Cambodian landscapes,” Ty Sokhun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Phnom Penh told Deccan Herald.

Sokhun said talks on tiger export from India have begun with the objective of improving the big cat count in two Cambodian landscapes of the eastern highlands and western mountains. An increase in tiger numbers would also aid in tourism.

Since most of the wild tigers in Cambodia lost their breeding potential, their numbers can increase only with external help.

Some of the Indian reserved forests like Corbett National Park is densely populated with tigers while the Mudumalai-Bandipur-Nagarhole-Wayanad complex holds the world's largest tiger population, currently estimated at over 570 tigers.

To ensure better protection for the striped cats, the environment ministry now plans to notify important tiger corridors for implementing better conservation measures. Initially three corridors in central India (Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh); South India (Karnataka-Tamil Nadu-Kerala) and north (Uttarakhand-Uttar Pradesh) may be notified with state support.

The ministry also plans to rope in business houses in tiger conservation as they can spend a part of their corporate social responsibility fund for tiger protection. The budget for Project Tiger has also been doubled from Rs 185 crore to Rs 380 crore in 2016-17.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet approved India's membership of the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network to control trans-boundary wildlife crime involving tigers, elephants and rhinoceros.

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