Guterres: Increase in India’s tiger population ‘good sign’

With an SDGs, goal which encourages the preservation of biodiversity, always a good sign if endangered species are being protected, Guterres

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United Nations: India’s tiger population, which has more than doubled from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2019, is a “good sign” as it meets UN’s sustainable development goal which encourages the preservation of all species, particularly those that are endangered, a spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres has said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday released the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 and said the country had emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for tigers in the world. The tiger population in India has grown from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2019, according to the report. “With around 3,000 tigers, India has emerged as of one of the biggest and safest habitats for them in the world,” Modi said as he lauded all the stakeholders involved in the country’s tiger conservation exercise.

“We have a Sustainable Development Goal which encourages the preservation of biodiversity and of all species including, in particular, those that are endangered. So, it’s always a good sign if endangered species are, in fact, being protected,” Secretary-General Guterres’ Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said at a press briefing here on Tuesday when asked to comment about the increase in tiger population in India.

Of the 17 UN sustainable development goals, 15 deal with “Life on Land” and are focussed on protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation and halting biodiversity loss.

Among the main targets of the 15 goals is to “take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species. It also stresses the need for urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.

According to the report, while the number of tigers has increased nationwide, there was a decline in its population in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. The report was prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

The report covered 3,81,400 sq km of forests which were surveyed for tiger signs and prey estimation. Nearly 27,000 camera traps were set up at 141 locations covering an area of 121,337 sq km and taking nearly 3.48 crore photographs. Out of the total pictures, nearly 77,000 were of tigers.

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