Tag Archives: depleting forest

International Tiger Day: My heart weeps for Tigers

निर्वनॊ वध्यते वयाघ्रॊ निर्व्याघ्रं छिद्यते वनम

तस्माद वयाघ्रॊ वनं रक्षेद वनं वयाघ्रं च पालयेत।।

Tiger out of the woods, is easily slain; the wood also, that is without a tiger, is easily cut down. Therefore, it is the tiger that protects the forest and the forest that shelters the tiger.” – Mahabharata

Lalit Shastri

Contrary to the letter and spirit of the law of nature depicting the symbiotoc relationship between forest and the tiger spelled out so succinctly in the Mahabharata, we have a situation where about 19 million acres of forest land has been distributed in a short time under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, also called the Forest Rights Act, that provides for giving forest rights across India, including both individual rights to cultivated land in forestland and community rights over common property resources to tribals and other forest dwellers. One can imagine the magnitude of the crisis and the havoc caused to our forest wealth following the enactment of the Forest Rights Act by appreciating that each acre of forest land that has been parcelled out to the people, on an average, had about 35 to 40 trees, of course depending upon the site quality.

It is a pity and a shame for humanity – the way the tiger population has dwindled over the years. All are aware how poachers keep striking at will. The tiger habitat has been methodically encroached – an activity diabolically supported by politicians to win votes and stay riveted to power. Whatever remains of the tiger habitat is being plundered by the mining mafia and illegal fellers or else the so-called stakeholders who are robbing the forests and the entire biodiversity base through reckless grazing and minor forest produce collection. Let us go back a few years. By 2009, the last of the Panna tigers had vanished. It is an entirely a different matter that after a few years of relocating and breeding under controlled conditions, the Panna Tiger Reserve is again boasting of tiger numbers. There is no reason to be proud of Panna re-population progrmme because the idea is not to breed tigers under controlled conditions but to ensure the forests and their corridors are protected to such an extent that there is minimum man-animal conflict and tigers are left with the necessary privacy and prey base to ensure they breed and thrive in their natural surrounding.

Corporate social Responsibility

School students in Bhopal are coming under the umbrella of Young CREW for Tigers, which is part of the Conservation Awareness Programme launched by CREW, a not-for-profit organisation. CREW is spearheading the programme aimed at building a movement for tiger protection and wildlife conservation. It was an important milestone in this direction when a team of Young CREW for Tigers met Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in his official chamber in the state Assembly on March 12, 2013. On this occasion, the children gave the message: “Bagh hai to jungle hai, jungle ha to jal hai, jal hai to jeevan hai.” ( if the tiger is safe, the forest is safe, if the forest is there, there is water and where there is water, there is life). This was greatly appreciated by the Chief Minister. As part of CREW’s partnership with Sanctuary Asia and its Kids for Tigers programme, CREW’s young brigade also presented the Chief Minister a banner with the slogan “Save our Tigers”.

School children had met Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singgh Chouhan and presented him a “Kids for Tigers” banner of the

During this meeting, the chief minister had blessed the students emphasising the importance of conservation and sustainable approach towards life. He had also conveyed his best wishes for the success of the Young CREW for Tigers initiative and the Kids for Tigers programme. The children had used this meeting as an opportunity to present to the Chief Minister a poster of Kids for Tigers programme and an illustrated booklet on Pench Tiger Reserve titled “Glory that is Mowgliland“, published by CREW [ Click here for Glory that is Mowgliland in digital format ]

It’s more than just sad the way tigers are perishing or getting killed….I’m horrified by the fact that most of those who can act have abdicated their responsibility….Instead they are busy counting their gains and falling to greater depths on being doled out lavish sinecures and positions that matter. By paying lip service to combat Wildlife crime and by going all out to allow reckless cattle grazing, logging, minor forest produce collection, mining and encroachment of forest land, they are thriving and at the same time driving the last nail in the coffin of this majestic specie.

It is time the world sits straight….the tiger crisis is only drawing lip service…the tiger habitat is not only shrinking…it is being raided day in and day out by tourists besides poachers…what to talk of immense biotic pressure aggravated by population pressure…The forest in the catchment of our rivers are getting denuded at a rapid pace. For example the destruction of forests in the catchment of the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh has touched alarming levels. Consequently, the rivers and tributaries in this landscape do not remain charged all the year round through the natural process of percolation of rain water and gradual release of water through streams and rivulets. No wonder, the grand Narmada is no longer perennial. As the slopes across the Central Indian highlands are becoming barren, there is too much of silting through runoff that reduces the carrying capacity of our rivers. Hence, when monsoon arrives there are flash floods as too much of water flows into the rivers in too short a time thereby leaving the rivers thin, lean or dry for remaining part of the year.

4 June 2015 was a Black Day for ecology, green cover and forests as on this day the Madhya Pradesh Government issued two extraordinary gazette notifications to bring in force the “Madhya Pradesh Protected Forest Rules, 2015” (Under these rules “Protected area” has the same meaning as assigned to it under The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972) and the “Madhya Pradesh Village Forest Rules, 2015”. These rules will sound the death knell for forests and the already threatened wildlife. [ Check: What will be the state of the forests in Madhya Pradesh after a few years? https://newsroom24x7.com/2015/06/17/what-will-be-the-state-of-the-forests-in-madhya-pradesh-after-a-few-years/ ]

Large-scale land use change has become a common practice leading to massive depletion of forest wealth. In Central Indian landscape that can be called the water capital of this country, the forests that stretch across the undulating slopes and ridges of the Vindhya and Satpura mountain ranges that form a massive watershed and provide the passage to the Narmada river and its tributaries to flow have continued to face immense biotic pressure due to a horde of factors that are not being addressed in totality.

I am not interested in tiger numbers. I am only interested in the safety of tigers in their natural habitat. I am only interested in preserving the core, the buffers and corridors and keeping them free from poachers, illegal mining activity, reckless logging and exploitation of natural resources. The factors threatening the forests are too many. Today the tiger that sits on the apex of the biotic pyramid is gravely threatened. It would be a crime against the most majestic of all species if we remain mute spectators and allow the politicians and their bureaucratic arm to destroy and devastate our forests and wildlife. My heart weeps for the vanishing stripes…….

Endangered Tiger: Modi points to the challenge of poaching and disruption of ecosystems

Newsroom24x7 Staff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the inaugural address, at the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, in New Delhi on April 12, 2016. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge)Prakas h Javadekar, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashok Lavasa are also seen
Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivering the inaugural address, at the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation, in New Delhi on April 12, 2016. The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge)Prakas h Javadekar, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashok Lavasa are also seen

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed concern over the fate of the endangered tiger and said it appears that tiger habitats have reduced drastically across Tiger Range Countries. The situation has been aggravated further by the ongoing trafficking in body parts and derivatives of this magnificent animal. In India too, we have been facing the challenge of poaching and disruption in their ecosystems.

Prime Minister Modi was addressing the opening session of the 3-day Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation at Vigyan Bhawan here on Tuesday. he said the tiger is an apex consumer in the ecological pyramid and food chain. It requires a large amount of prey, supported by good forests. Therefore, by protecting the tiger, we protect the entire ecosystem and the ecological services, which are equally crucial for the well-being of human beings.

Royal Bengal TigerThe tiger has brought all of us together here. This is an important meeting to discuss the conservation of one of the important endangered species. Your very presence is a testimony to the importance your country attaches to this “umbrella” among species, the Indian prime Minister said adding the benefits from tiger conservation are enormous but intangible. We cannot quantify this in economic terms. Putting a price tag on nature is difficult. Since Mother Nature has bestowed them for its own conservation, it becomes our bounden duty to conserve them. In India, the tiger is much more than just a wild animal. In our mythology, the mother Goddess, who is the embodiment of Mother Nature, is depicted sitting on a tiger.

Modi underscored that Species belonging to the animal kingdom, usually do not act to their disadvantage. However, human beings are an exception. Our compulsions and cravings, our needs and greed, have led to shrinkage of natural habitat and destruction of ecosystems. Here, I recall the famous words of Gautam Buddha who said: “the forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness. It affords protection to all beings, offering shade even to the axe-man who destroys it.”

The Prime Minister drew attention to the “great effort” made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in convening the tiger summit in 2010. The Global Tiger Recovery Programme was an important outcome of these efforts, he said and also appreciated the initiatives of Yeshey Dorji, chairman of the Global Tiger Forum and the “good efforts” made by the Tiger Range Countries in conserving tigers. Modi also complimented those present for the ongoing effort.

wildlife1Modi pointed out that the forests are inseparable from wild animals. Both are mutually complementary. Destruction of one leads to destruction of the other. This is an important cause of climate change which is now affecting us adversely in many ways. This is a global phenomenon which all of us are grappling with. As a solution, we have committed to work towards country specific mitigation strategies.

For the Tiger Range Countries, the Prime Minitser said, a viable tiger population undoubtedly symbolises a mitigation strategy for climate change. This will create a huge carbon sink in the form of tiger bearing forests. Thus, conservation of tiger will go a long way in ensuring a good future for ourselves and our coming generations.

The Indian Prime Minister further said:

“India has a long standing and successful track record of protecting its tigers. We launched “Project Tiger” in 1973. Its coverage has increased considerably from the initial 9 tiger reserves to 49 at present. Tiger conservation is a collective responsibility of the Government of India and States. I also compliment our State governments for their efforts. But the efforts of Government cannot succeed unless they are supported by the people. Our cultural legacy which encourages compassion and co-existence has played an important role in the success of Project Tiger. Due to such collective efforts, there has been a rise of thirty per cent in the number of tigers. It has gone up from 1706 in 2010 to 2226 in 2014.

Our National Tiger Conservation Authority has taken many landmark initiatives. Use of modern technology, including intelligent, infrared and thermal cameras on a 24×7 basis is being promoted for surveillance against poaching in sensitive tiger reserves. Several protocols for smart patrolling and tiger monitoring have been evolved. Radio telemetry is also being promoted to monitor tigers. A national repository of tiger camera trap photo database is also being created. To do all this, we have, this year, doubled our allocation for tiger conservation. We have increased it from Rupees 185 crores to Rupees 380 crores; which is 3.8 billion Rupees.

I strongly believe that tiger conservation, or conservation of nature, is not a drag on development. Both can happen in a mutually complementary manner. All we need is to re-orient our strategy by factoring in the concerns of the tiger in sectors where tiger conservation is not the goal. This is a difficult task but can be achieved. Our genius lies in “smartly” integrating the tiger and wildlife safeguards in various infrastructures at the landscape level. This essentially takes us to the much needed “smart green infrastructure”, while adopting a landscape approach. The landscape approach would also help us to involve business groups through corporate social responsibility for various initiatives towards tiger conservation. In the Indian context, we intend to achieve this through the Tiger Conservation Plans.

Considering the ecosystem value of tiger conservation areas, we need to consider them as “natural capital.” Our institutions have done an economic valuation of a few tiger reserves. This study has highlighted the fact that besides conserving the tiger, these reserves also provide a range of economic, social, cultural and spiritual benefits. These are known as ecosystem services. Thus, we need to define conservation as a means to achieve development, rather than considering it to be anti-growth. This calls for factoring in the value of the ecosystem in the economic arithmetic of development and growth.

Friends! I am confident that we can achieve a framework to foster proactive engagement of industry for conservation. The natural capital denoting the stock of natural ecosystems should be treated at par with capital goods. Our economy needs to be viewed as a subset of a larger economy of natural resources and ecosystem services which sustain us.

As a country having more than seventy per cent of the global tiger population, India is committed to complement the initiatives of other Tiger Range Countries. We have bilateral arrangements with China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh. We hope to continue our efforts to address issues of mutual concern for the tiger.

A major threat to the tiger is the demand for its body parts and derivatives. The forest and its wild denizens are an open treasury which cannot be locked up. It is painful to learn about trafficking of body parts and derivatives of tigers and other big cats. We need to collaborate at the highest levels of Government to address this serious issue.

India along with several Tiger Range Countries is a founder member of the Global Tiger Forum, which is headquartered in New Delhi. This is the only inter-governmental organisation of its kind. It is now working closely with the Global Tiger Initiative Council. As a host country, I assure you of our fullest support. We will also be happy to support capacity building of wildlife personnel at the Wildlife Institute of India.

The Tiger Range Countries are signatories to other international conventions to address international trade on endangered species. In this regard, I want to give you another good news. We are moving towards formally adopting the statute of South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network.

At the end, I would like to emphasise that conservation of tigers is not a choice. It is an imperative. I would also like to emphasise that regional co-operation is essential for combating wildlife crime. In this conference, let us resolve to work together to protect the tiger and its space. India is committed to engage with all Tiger Range Countries for this purpose.”