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Tiger, tiger, burning bright

Good news for wildlife lovers – India’s tiger population has increased by 33 per cent in about five years,


Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  3 Aug 2020 1:55 AM GMT

Good news for wildlife lovers – India's tiger population has increased by 33 per cent in about five years, and the country is now home to about 70 per cent of the world's tigers. A report about the status of tigers of India, released by Union Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar last week has also brought to light the fact that the number of tigers has increased despite rapid deforestation and habitat loss across the country. That tigers are also unsafe despite the tall claims of the government can be gauged from the fact that no tiger has been left in the Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram, while tigers have been facing increasing threat in Namdapha, Kamlang and Dibang tiger reserves in Arunachal Pradesh. Despite that however, the good news, as reported, is that tigers from the North-eastern region have got the highest rating for conservation. It has been said that tigers from the Northeast are likely to share their gene pool with the most critically-endangered subspecies, that is, Panthera tigris corbetti (Indochinese tiger), that exists in Myanmar. Given this backdrop, it has been suggested that conservation investments for Namdapha tiger reserve, Kamlang tiger reserve and for making Dibang wildlife sanctuary tiger reserve are of now a paramount priority for the authorities. While Kaziranga National Park – also a very important Tiger Reserve of the country – has been one of the most favourable habitats of the majestic big cat, the ground reality is that the landscape of Karbi Anglong adjoining Kaziranga, which provides crucial connection to the southern tiger habitats of Intanki in Nagaland and Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram, are currently under severe pressure. Various activities like deforestation, encroachment, and quarrying, which are detrimental to the tiger's survival, and for that matter wildlife as a whole, have been going on under the very nose of the authorities. That exactly is why the report has mentioned that this area requires conservation priority and major investments. It is very important for the government – be it in Delhi or Dispur – to understand that the tiger population of this landscape is genetically unique likely because of gene flow with south-east Asian tiger populations of Myanmar, that the North Eastern tigers have a great evolutionary significance, and that this region has several other important endemic species, which are also under serious threat.

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