To prevent incidents of poaching and poisoning and to save the remaining population of tigers, the Ministry of Environment and Forests proposes to bring in amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
This was stated by Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh here on Sunday.
Talking to journalists at the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) here, he said that of the 37 tiger reserves, nine were in good condition, 12 satisfactory and 16 in a precarious condition. As on date, the country had 1,200 to 1,400 tigers. Mr. Ramesh said tigers and leopards were smuggled to China via Myanmar and Nepal because of the medicinal value of their parts. "China is celebrating year 2010 as year of tigers and this could be a threat to tigers in India."
To control poaching, a Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, with field offices, had been set up. The amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act were proposed to make the penal provisions stringent with punishments measuring to the level of those awarded for violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The draft amendments were circulated to the States for their views.
On shifting of tribals from the tiger reserve areas, Mr. Ramesh said that of the 1 lakh families, 3,000 had been shifted. The Ministry would shift them only through persuasion and monetary incentives. Every family was being given an incentive of Rs. 10 lakh. Elephant corridors
On protection of elephants, Mr. Ramesh said the Ministry had discussed the issue with Assam, West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and they had sought financial help for acquisition of lands to restore the elephant corridors.
The Minister said the focus was on the quality of forest cover and not just quantity.