The government has demonstrated its commitment to tiger conservation by increasing the number of tiger reserves from nine in 1973 to 52 at present, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said on Friday.
The government is also committed towards the well-being of the people who inhabit these tiger-bearing landscapes through creation of livelihood opportunities and interventions, he said at an event organised at the Chandrapur Forest Academy, Maharashtra, to mark the International Tiger Day.
According to the 2018 tiger census, India has a tiger population of 2,967. The tiger estimation is conducted once every four years.
“The government has demonstrated its commitment to tiger conservation by increasing the number of tiger reserves from initial nine in 1973 to the current 52, the latest being Ramgarh Vishdhari in Rajasthan,” Yadav said.
He said India has taken up a high priority conservation project to bring back cheetah which went extinct in 1952.
The cheetah introduction programme is at an advanced stage of implementation, he added.
The bilateral agreement with the Namibian government has already been signed and a pact with South Africa will be signed soon, the minister said.
Officials had told PTI earlier that the first batch comprising four male and as many female cheetahs will arrive from Namibia by August 15.
Twelve cheetahs will be brought from South Africa.
Union Minister of State for Environment Ashwini Kumar Choubey stressed that the tiger symbolises power and plays a crucial role in conservation of biodiversity, forest, water and climate security.
“We should imagine a future of peaceful co-existence of man, animal and nature,” he said.
It is a matter of great pride that India is a global leader in tiger conservation and is collaborating with countries like Cambodia, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Russia to come together for the cause of tiger conservation, Choubey said.