Project Tiger May Be Merged With Other Conservation Schemes

Tigers in an Indian park
Dhritiman Mukherjee
Project Tiger has undoubtedly had its limitations, but its contribution to saving of tigers and diverse habitats and life forms has been unquestionable.

Project Tiger, India’s first wildlife protection program, may be merged along with other conservation schemes. The Planning Commission has asked the environment ministry to merge Project Tiger along with Project Elephant and Integrated Development under Wildlife Habitat (IDWH). The move has been opposed by all nine members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) who have termed it “retrograde”. They have written a strongly worded letter to the Planning Commission chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and a copy has been sent to the Environment Minister, Jayanthi Natarajan and the Environment Secretary T Chatterjee. The letter, sent on September 17, has been signed by M K Ranjitsinh, Bittu Sahgal, Prerna Bindra, Kishore Rithe, T R Shankar Raman, Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Biswajit Mohanty, Asad Rahmani and Bibhab Kumar Talukdar. The members have said that Project Tiger is one of the most successful conservation efforts in the World and, despite its failures, its contribution to saving tigers and its diverse habitats has been unquestionable. The project has been acknowledged by the centre as deemed by the recent move to upgrade it to the National Tiger Conservation Authority and also making it a statutory entity by including it in the Wildlife Protection Act (1972). Efforts to get a comment from the Environment ministry have proved futile.

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