Latest census shows tiger status deteriorated: Minister

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (UNI) Minister of State for Forest and Environment S Regupathy today said the latest tiger estimation figures, which were being made public, shows that the status of the endangered animal was not satisfactory in the forest areas other than the core habitat.

''While the status of tiger has not shown a significant change in the core habitat of Reserves and Protected Areas, their status in other areas is not satisfactory,'' he said and called for mainstreaming tiger concerns in the land scape around the core areas.

The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the two-day conference of senior officials of his Ministry from across the country here this morning.

A Report on the latest tiger census carried out by the Wildlife Insitute of India is expected to be released this evening.

He said the latest assessment for the time depicts the status of tiger habitat, co-predators and prey across the landscape.

Mr Regupathy urged the states to expedite the actions for tiger conservation schemes under the Project Tiger.

He said 100 per cent central assistance had been provided to 17 tiger states, in addition to annual plan allocation for creation of 'tiger protection force'.

The Minister said the ongoing Project Tiger has been strengthened to implement the urgent recommendations of the Tiger Task Force constituted by the Prime Minister. The important features of the revised scheme was increase in the village relocation package from Rs one lakh to Rs ten lakh. He said, this would help in early establishment of the critical tiger habitat notified by tiger states covering an area of around 31,111 sq km of the core areas of the tiger reserves.

The states would be required to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding for ensuring a project mode to save the wild tigers.

The Minister said the government reviewed the forest and wildlife sector through the National Forest Commission, and it has agreed with almost all its recommendation except the ones relating to creation of a separate Wildlife Cadre and to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers(Recongnition of Forest Rights) Act, and the work was on to implement the recommendations.

He said to achieve the goal of 30 pe cent forest cover by 2012, additional interventions and financial resources are needed, and the Ministry was working in that direction.

The Minister also called up on states to fill the vacancies in the forest department and to expedite clearance of projects under the Forest Conservation Act.

Secretary Meena Gupta also addressed the inaugural session.

The two-day meeting in which senior forest officials, including secretaries, principal chief conservators and chief wildlife wardens from all over the country are participating is discussing issues concerning protected forest areas, wildlife and other related issues.

The main thrust of the Conference is on the progress of the implementation of the management plans of Protected Areas and man-animal conflicts.

The Conference would also deliberate on a unique proposal to develop plantation banks to facilitate the compensatory afforestation through Green Credit Scheme.

Representatives from Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (AYUSH), Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development and Planning Commission are also attending the meet.

The institutions of the Ministry of Environment and Forests such as Wildlife Institute of India, Forest Survey of India, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Indian Plywood Research and Training Institute (IPRTI), Indian Council Forestry Research&Education, Indian Institute of Forest Management are also participating in the conference.

UNI NAZ LPB KP1331

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