WWF-India Selects Youth Tiger Ambassadors Ahead of International Tiger forum Addition of 8 New Tiger Reserves- Jairam Ramesh
There will be an addition of new eight Tiger Reserves to existing 39 Tiger Reserves in the country within next 6 to 8 months. They will be one each at Satyamangala in Tamilnadu , Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh, Sonapeda in Orissa, the Biliriranga Hills near Mysore in Karnataka and two new Tiger Reserves each in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. They will be Nave Goan Nagzira and Bor and Pilibhit and Suhelwa respectively. Introducing Two Young Tiger Ambassadors of India here today, Shri Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State for Environment and Forests (I/C) said others talk of saving tigers, we actually save the tigers. “WWF is taking thise youngsters to Tiger Summit and I hope that many will join in their efforts to save tigers when they come back. The Ministry will mobilize help for their gigantic effort to save 1400 tigers that remain wild in India,” he added.
The Minister stressed India’s commitment towards conserving the big cats. He said, “ India harbors a large proportion of the world’s tiger population, we are committed to make all efforts to conserve wild tigers and their habitats.’’ He further added that’’ Our commitment to put the tiger on an assured course of recovery goes back 37 years when India launched the worlds most extensive and intensive tiger conservation programme since 1973-Project Tiger. We hope that this Tiger Summit will foster the political will and commitment at all levels, for tiger conservation efforts in all range states. Involving the youth will send the message that by saving tigers, we indeed save much more.
Giving details about recent loss of 3 tigers, 2 in Kaziranga where one tiger lost in a fight with buffalo and the third tiger died in Pilibhit in-fighting.At the same time he gave good news of 5 tigers cubs born in Pench. The tiger census will be released in about two week’s time, he added.Talking about very promising areas for tigers he said Kaziranga is one of them. It is known as a Rhinoceros habitat, but today it has highest tiger density in India. Kaziranga has 35 tigers per 100 sq. km. Some tigers in south also show good tiger density.
Disclosing Ministry ‘s efforts to improve tiger’s situation, Shri Ramesh said few important steps have been taken which include increase in allowance of ground staff in Tiger Reserves, more funds from Finance Ministry for voluntary relocation of families from core area of Tiger Reserves, decentralization of National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) and partnership of local tribal’s and non-tribal people in tiger conservation.
The incentive of increased project allowance to 10,000 people at ground level staff will include forest guards, forest rangers, forest officers. It will be doubled.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will be decentralized. There will be 3 new offices, each one in Nagpur, to cover central Tiger habitats, Bangalore to cover South Indian Tiger habitat and one in Guwahati which will cover eastern and north eastern tiger habitat. The NTCA at Delhi will look after northen habitat and coordination work.
Additional allocation of Rs 800 Crore in 2010-11 and Rs 1000 Crore during 2011-12 has been requested to Finance Ministry for relocation of families from the Core areas of Tiger Reserves.The Minister told, “50,000 families have to be relocated, out of which 3000 families have been relocated so far . This process will go on for next five years. Per family Rs. 10 lakh is given and it is done in a very democratic manner.”
As part of ‘Partners in Tiger conservation’, initiative giving recruitment as tiger guards and tiger watchers started in Corbett Park where local van-gujjars. In Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, of Andhra Pradesh, over 400 local tribal youth from the Chenchus have been recruited. This model is being followed in many tiger reserves. The local community must develop a stake in the conservation effort the Minister said.
Referring to tourism, the Minister appealed for sustainable tourism.He said, “ The Money earned by tourism is be used for local communities.” Giving example of Corbett Park he informed the earnings of Corbett park is about Rs 2 crore and Kanha national park earns about Rs. 3Crore a year. This amount will be retained by Tiger Reserve for eco-development, restoration and participatory activities. This will make a very substantial difference between relationship of man and tiger. Shri Ramesh said this transformation is visible in Sunderbans today.
Tiger Ambassador Anusha Shankar, a student of M.Sc Ecology and Environmental Science at Pondicherry University, said, “The natural world has always fascinated me. I decided, long ago, to pursue this passion professionally. The Youth Tiger Summit is a great opportunity for me to contribute to tiger conservation initiatives; I believe that the onus is on the youth to build a better tomorrow. It is our responsibility to develop a future that is better than the past, and I intend to use innovative and creative ways to spread awareness about this.”
Tiger Ambassador Devanshu Sood, who has been a core member of his schools’ Junior Tiger Task Force since the last 8 years feels that being a part of the tiger conservation programme has been a life-changing experience for him. He said “I feel that the youth are the future of the tiger, and I will continue to spread awareness about tiger conservation to the best of my capacity.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, Mr Ravi Singh, CEO, WWF-India said, “Holding a youth summit alongside the High level summit will be critical in conveying the voice of the youth at the International Tiger Forum thereby drawing the worlds’ attention to the fate of these big cats .The Youth Tiger Summit presents a wonderful opportunity to the young generation to learn from others, share experiences and contribute towards tiger conservation efforts in their countries. We hope that the interaction with other youth delegates from different tiger range countries at the Summit will enable our Tiger Ambassadors to develop a vision for the youth movement in India.”
Before the WWF Youth Ambassadors embark on their journey to Russia, both the delegates today signed a pledge of support to the cause of tiger conservation in the presence of Hon’ble Minister for Environment and Forests, Shri Jairam Ramesh.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) selected these two Youth Tiger Ambassadors from in the age group of 18-22 years after a three step process of scanning application. Over 150 applications were received. 5 individuals were short listed on criteria’s of passion for wildlife, educational background, ability to learn about conservation, and the age limit. In final selection, two were selected. They will be a part of the delegation comprising representatives from all tiger range countries. They will visit Siberian tiger trails and get a first hand account of the state of wild tiger populations in Russia and measures being taken for their conservation.
They will represent India at the Youth Summit from 19-24 November 2010 in Vladivostok, home to the Amur tiger, at the same time as the high level International Youth Summit will take place.