WCT, Sanctuary magazine initiates tiger conservation project

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Mumbai, Jun 18 (UNI) In a significant move that is expected to bolster tiger conservation in India, the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) today announced a four-pronged tiger conservation project, geared to strengthen wildlife protection in India.

The project, sketched by the WTC and Sanctuary magazine, includes facilitating anti-poaching and forest protection measures, expansion and restoration of tiger corridors, supplementing government's welfare measures for voluntary resettlement and active work to regenerate degraded forestland, over a period of five years.

Speaking to reporters here, on the sidelines of a two-day workshop -- ''Royal Bengal Tiger - the last and final call'', that concluded here today, Sanctuary magazine Editor Bittu Sehgal said these objectives will be a key strategy to sequester and store carbon, which is critical to mitigating the impacts of climate change.

WCT Chairman Hemendra Kothari said their initial focus will be in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. He said the organisation will support those working independently in the field, on any of the four-point programmes and help to mobilize resources and create influential support for the wildlife policies of the Government, adding the WTC is confident of mobilising large scale support from the business fraternity also.

Mr Kothari said, ''Forest protection should be highest in the agenda of policy makers not just because the tiger is our national animal, but also because the ecosystem services that these Tiger Habitats offer us have a social, environmental and financial value far beyond any calculations made thus far.'' He also said while the Centre has initiated the tiger conservation project, with the sanction of Rs 50 crore and states like Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan are also taking the burden of tiger preservation, it is essential that progressive and industrial states should also support the efforts. Mr Kothari emphasised on the proper shifting of the villages, where tigers will be preserved.

The senior forest officials from Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who are collectively incharge of almost half of all the tigers found in India, were present during the workshop. Apart from revealing the latest tiger status, they sat in several closed-door sessions to discuss the next steps required in the field.


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