India’s Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has advocated for the conservation of the big cats in order to prevent their extinction.
The Prime Minister, in a mega international event held on Sunday at Mysuru, Karnataka, to commemorate 50 years of Project Tiger, made the call for their conservation.
Modi while launching the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) for conservation of seven big cats namely Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Cheetah, Jaguar and Puma harbouring our planet, noted that India has a long-standing experience on the tiger agenda and conservation of other big cats like lion, snow leopard, leopard, now the translocation of the Cheetah to bring an extinct big cat back to its natural habitat.
According to a report from one of India’s major newspapers, IBCA will focus on protection and conservation of seven major big cats of the world such as tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar, and cheetah in collaboration with countries harbouring these species.
“The belief of Narendra Modi has been integral in the environmental consciousness. Wide-ranging efforts have been undertaken, which have together positively impacted the wildlife in the country,” according to a government release.
The IBCA will provide assured support over five years with guaranteed funding of over Rs 800 crore.
The group will work towards the protection of the seven big cats — tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah.
Membership to the alliance will be open to 97 “range” countries, which contain the natural habitat of these big cats, as well as other interested nations, international organisations, etc.
The IBCA will engage in advocacy, partnership, knowledge e-portal, capacity building, eco-tourism, partnerships between expert groups and finance tapping.
The main objective of the alliance is to rehabilitate the big cats, with the alliance disseminating information on benchmarked practices, capacity building, resources repository, research and development, and awareness creation.
In July 2019, Prime Minister Modi had called for an Alliance of Global Leaders to firmly curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia.
According to the government, the population of tigers increased by 33% over 4 years to 2,967 in 2018.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi visited Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka where he interacted with frontline field staff and self-help groups involved in conservation efforts, as part of programmes to mark 50 years of ‘Project Tiger’.
Chairing the Ministerial session on global status of big cat conservation Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Bhupender Yadav said conserving big cats and their habitats can secure some of the most important natural ecosystems on Earth leading to natural climate change adaptation, water, and food security for millions of people, and provide livelihood and sustenance to forest communities.
He said the Alliance will strengthen global efforts and partnerships on big cat conservation, while evolving a platform for convergence of knowledge and best practices, supporting existing species specific inter-governmental platforms, while also providing direct support to recovery efforts in potential range habitats.
Shri Yadav said with big cats as mascots for sustainable development and livelihood security, India and the big cat range countries can usher in major efforts on environmental resilience and climate change mitigation, while paving a future where natural ecosystems continue to thrive, and gain centrality in economic and development policies in the “Amrit Kaal”.
The Ministers of Big Cat Range countries acknowledged and appreciated the leadership of India in big cat conservation and praised the efforts of Prime Minister, Union Minister and senior forest officials of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate change.
The Ministers of Big Cat Range Countries made the following remarks on the momentous event of launch of International Big Cat Alliance by the Prime Minister of India.
Forest Minister of Bhutan in his speech accepted the leadership of India in guiding them. His passing remarks like may Goddess Chamundi shower her blessings on all of the forest fraternity and his words in Hindi reverberated around the hall.
Forest Minister of Bangladesh praised India in helping in their conservation efforts in saving their pride that is Sundermani and Chittagong tigers.
His Excellency from Cambodia, was enthusiastic in getting tigers from India and rehabilitating them in in their Cardamom Hills and in their Sripok Wildlife Sanctuary.
He also spoke about the re-introduction plan prepared by them.
Kenya’s Minister of Wildlife, Tourism and Culture, through her video message lauded the help rendered by Government of India and Indian Forest Service, in formulating the protocols, good managerial practices, in the conduct and evaluating of Census results of wild animals especially Lions in her country.
Minister from Nepal, accepted the leadership of India in the field of wildlife conservation and offered all support to the alliance.
Ethiopian Forest Minister without mincing words expressed his greatest satisfaction in being a part of an endeavour to save big cats all around the world.
His Royal Highness the Regent of Pahang was all praise for India’s efforts and wanted assistance in recovery of tiger population in Malaysia. Besides this Ministers and head of delegations of Suriname, Armenia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Vietnam, Thailand and Lao also expressed their appreciation for the said initiative.
The Union Minister Shri Bhupender Yadav acknowledging the overwhelming support promised to work on modalities to take the launch of IBCA forward and thanked everyone for their participation.