This Article is From Apr 09, 2023

India Does Not Believe In Conflict Between Ecology, Economy: PM Modi

Protection of wildlife was a universal issue, PM Modi said, launching the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) that endeavours to protect and conserve big cats.

India Does Not Believe In Conflict Between Ecology, Economy: PM Modi

PM Modi highlighted the success of 'Project Tiger'. (File)

Mysuru, Karnataka:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India did not believe in conflict between ecology and economy but gave importance to coexistence between the two.

Protection of wildlife was a universal issue, PM Modi said, launching the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) that endeavours to protect and conserve big cats.

The Prime Minister was speaking after inaugurating the programme 'Commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger' organised at Karnataka State Open University.

Citing data that showed the tiger population in India stood at 3,167 in 2022, PM Modi said: "The tiger numbers that we have reached shows that this family of ours is growing. This is a moment of pride." Calling for a standing ovation to celebrate the rise in tiger population, he added, "I'm confident and I assure the world that in the days to come we will achieve more." According to the data, the tiger population was 1,411 in 2006, 1,706 in 2010, 2,226 in 2014, 2,967 in 2018 and 3,167 in 2022.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav and Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey among others were present at the event.

The Prime Minister said the success of 'Project Tiger' is a matter of pride not only for India but for the whole world.

Stating that India has not only saved tigers, but created an ecosystem for it to flourish, he said, "India is a country where protecting nature is part of culture." "For wildlife to thrive, it is important for ecosystems to thrive. This has been happening in India," he said, adding that protecting wildlife was not the issue of just one country, but actually a global one.

Pointing out that cheetahs had become extinct in India decades ago, the Prime Minister referred to the recent initiative where the big cats were brought to India from Namibia and South Africa, and said it was the first successful transcontinental translocation of the big cat.

He also highlighted that four cubs had been born from these cheetahs at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

In July 2019, the Prime Minister had called for an Alliance of Global Leaders to obliterate demand and firmly curb poaching and illegal Wildlife trade in Asia. Taking that message forward, the International Big Cat Alliance was launched today, officials said.

IBCA will focus on protection and conservation of seven major big cats of the world -- tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah -- with range countries harbouring these species being its members.

The Sahyadri or Western Ghats have several tribal communities, who have worked for wildlife and tigers to flourish, PM Modi noted as he lauded their contribution in conservation efforts.

The Oscar-winning documentary 'The Elephant Whisperers' also depicts the traditional bond between nature and creatures, he said.

"It is heartening that at the time when we have completed 75 years of independence, 75 per cent of the world's tiger population is in India. It is also a coincidence that the tiger reserve in India is 75,000 sq km. And in the last 10-12 years, the tiger population has also increased by 75 per cent," the Prime Minister further said.

PM Modi, earlier in the day, went on a safari at the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka amidst the picturesque surroundings of the towering Western Ghats, as part of programmes to mark 50 years of 'Project Tiger'.

Dressed in a speckled safari clothing and hat, he reportedly covered about 20 kilometres in an open jeep inside the tiger reserve, located partly in Gundlupet taluk of Chamarajanagar district, and partly in H D Kote and Nanjangud taluks of Mysuru district.

"Spent the morning at the scenic Bandipur Tiger Reserve and got a glimpse of India's wildlife, natural beauty and diversity," he tweeted with some pictures of the safari.

During his speech at the event, the PM said: "India with just 2.4 per cent of the world's land area, contributes about 8 percent of the known global diversity. It is the largest tiger range country in the world. With nearly 30,000 elephants, we are the largest Asiatic elephant range country in the world. Our rhino population of nearly 3,000 makes us the largest single-horned rhino country in the world." India is the only country to have Asiatic lions, and their population has increased from around 525 in 2015 to 675 in 2020, he said, adding that the leopard population is up by 60 per cent in a span of four years. "Also, endangered aquatic species have shown improvement by measures like cleaning of rivers and water bodies.

Highlighting the increase in the forest and tree cover, Modi said India added over 2,200 square kilometres of forest and tree cover by 2021 in comparison to 2019 figures.

In a decade, the number of national parks and sanctuaries around which eco-sensitive zones were notified, increased from 9 to 468, he added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)