Special Tiger Protection Forces on the agenda in India
NEW DELHI: Soon, every state where the big cat resides will have a special force dedicated to save it. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is expected to get a go ahead to ask all states to set up a Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) to save the tiger.
In 2010, the then finance minister and now President Pranab Mukherjee had sanctioned 50 crore (£5m) for setting up a specialised force to protect tigers in critical areas. The force was also to act as an employment generator for those residing in and around tiger reserves.
Four years down the line, just four of the 47 tiger reserves – Pench and Tadoba-Andhari in Maharashtra, Bandipur in Karnataka and Simplipal in Odisha – have set up the force defeating the purpose of having an equipped unit to deal with high instances of tiger poaching.
A memorandum of understanding has already been signed with some other states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand for setting up the force but there has not been much headway. According to WPSI as many as 138 tigers have been poached since 2010 and the NTCA estimated that there were 1,706 tigers in India in 2010.
“The proposal to direct all the tiger states to set up the STPF will be examined at the NTCA meeting on August 26 to be chaired by environment minister Prakash Javadekar,” a senior ministry official said.
NTCA is keen that local tribes such as Gonds in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Chenchus in Andhra Pradesh, Sholigas in Karnataka, Gujjars in Uttarakhand and Irulas in TN should be part of the new force to encourage tiger conservation.
On the agenda would also be proposals from non-official members for conservation of wildlife corridors that help the animals to move from one habitat to another and carve out two more tiger reserves from existing wildlife sanctuaries MM Hills and Cauvery in Karnataka.
TigerTime will keep you updated on these important developments for tigers in India.
Source: Hindustan Times
Photo: Suzi Eszterhas