India key to tiger conservation, says new study

LONDON: India has been identified as the most important country for tiger conservation with 18 sites being identified as containing breeding populations of tigers with the potential to seed the recovery of tigers over a wider area in the future.

According to a study conducted by an international team of researchers, India has 18 of the 42 ‘source sites’ which are the ‘last hope’ and therefore the main priority for the recovery of the world’s largest cat.

The study published in journal PLoS Biology says that efforts to protect the wild tiger should be intensively focused on a few key sites such as the ones in India if conservationists are to have any chance of saving the wild cat from extinction.

It says that the cost of doing so would be relatively low, costing an estimated USD 35 million more than the current total being spent on tiger conservation per year.

Much of the rest of the cost is already covered by the provision of governments in the countries where tigers are most common, supplemented by a relatively modest contribution from international donors and non-governmental organizations, the study says.

The researchers have revealed in the paper that most of the world’s last remaining tigers are now clustered in just six per cent of their available habitat, which is about 1,00,000 square km.

The study has been conducted by a team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Cambridge, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Global Environment Facility, Panthera, World Bank, among others.

Co-author John Robinson from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Overseas Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, said: “The tiger is facing its last stand as a species. As dire as the situation is for tigers, conservationists know what it will take to save the tiger in the wild, and we are confident that the world community will come together to bring these iconic big cats back from the brink of extinction.

-PTI

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