“We are looking at setting up eight more reserves as part of the tiger conservation efforts,” Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said here on Friday.
“The new reserves would include one in the Satyamangalam forests in Tamil Nadu, besides Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.”
The national tiger census report should also be available in within the next 15 days, he said speaking at a function held at WWF-India here, ahead of the International Tiger Forum, which is being hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at St. Petersburg from November 21 to 24.
The Minister introduced India's Youth Tiger Ambassadors who will represent the country at the International Youth Summit being held alongside the high-level government meeting on tiger conservation. The Forum will commit conservation and rehabilitation of tigers to global action.
The Youth Summit will take place from November 19 to 24 at Vladivostok, home to the Amur Tiger. The involvement of youth at this important meeting is aimed at drawing attention to the importance of tiger conservation. WWF-India has selected students Anusha Shankar and Devanshu Sood to represent India at the summit.
They will be part of a delegation comprising representatives from all tiger ranges countries. The youth ambassadors 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 also develop a youth declaration on conservation, which will be presented to the Tiger Forum via videoconference between Vladivostok and St. Petersburg.
Pledge of support
Before embarking on their journey to Russia, both tiger ambassadors signed a pledge, in the presence of Mr. Ramesh, of support to the cause of conservation. 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.”
Devanshu Sood, a student of Class XI at Shriram School, Gurgaon, has been a core member of his school's Junior Tiger Task Force for the past eight years. He says that being part of the tiger conservation programme has been a life-changing experience. “I feel that the youth are the future of the tiger, and I will continue to spread awareness of tiger conservation to the best of my capacity.”