Environment Conservation Group (ECG) launched an information van – Tiger Express - in Coimbatore on Monday to mark the Global Tiger Day (July 29).

With the objective of creating awareness on the importance of tigers and conserving forests among school students, Environment Conservation Group (ECG) launched an information van – Tiger Express - here on Monday to mark the Global Tiger Day (July 29).

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Director of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy A.S. Jafry flagged off the van at Chandrakanthi Public School. The van will cover 22 schools on Monday and Tuesday.

Mr. Jafry, who is also the Director in-charge of Project Tiger, a Centrally-sponsored scheme, said that several measures had been initiated to protect and improve tiger habitats under Project Tiger.

Tamil Nadu had four tiger reserves - Kalakkad Mundanthurai in Tirunelveli, Mudumalai in the Nilgiris, Anamalai in Coimbatore and newly-declared Sathyamangalam in Erode. The earlier system of enumerating tigers by pug mark method had been replaced with camera trapping method, which was more accurate. Awareness on protecting tigers and forests had increased among the public in recent years, he added.

Mohammed Saleem, ECG president, said that the main reason behind the decline in tiger population was unhindered trade in skin and body parts for medicine and costumes, degradation and fragmentation of tiger habitats, depletion of prey animals, revenge killing by local tribes and urbanisation.

The tiger was found in the wild only in 13 Asian counties of which India was home to more than half of the world’s tiger population, he added. Global Tiger Day was initiated during 2010 after the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit by Global Tiger Initiative, an alliance of 13 tiger range countries, international organisations, civil society, scientific community and the private sector.

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