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Rupa Kumari

November 9, 2023 5:37 PM IST

77th CITES Meeting: India highlights achievements in big cat conservation

At the 77th Standing Committee meeting of CITES, India highlighted its achievements in big cat conservation like tigers and lions, besides the historic first-ever wild-to-wild, intercontinental translocation and introduction of the Cheetah.

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In 2023, India commemorated 50 years of Project Tiger by 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.

India also appealed range countries and other stakeholders to join Alliance. The Alliance aims to reach out to 97 range countries covering the natural habitats of Tiger, Lion, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah. IBCA would further strengthen global cooperation and efforts to conserve the wild denizens, especially the big cats.

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.

According to government data, as on April 9, 2022, India’s tiger population is estimated to be 3925 and the average number is 3682 tigers, reflecting a commendable annual growth rate of 6.1% per annum. The largest tiger population of 785 is in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Karnataka (563) & Uttarakhand (560), and Maharashtra (444).

The tiger abundance within the Tiger Reserve is highest in Corbett (260), followed by Bandipur (150), Nagarhole (141), Bandhavgarh (135), Dudhwa (135), Mudumalai(114), Kanha (105), Kaziranga (104), Sundarbans (100), Tadoba (97), Sathyamangalam (85), and Pench-MP (77).

Meanwhile, India also reintroduced cheetahs, under the ‘Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India’. Project Cheetah aims to bring back independent India’s only extinct large mammal – the cheetah. As part of the project, cheetahs will be introduced in various National Parks over five years.

The 77th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, from November 6 to 10, 2023.

Earlier in 2022, at the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, India had raised the livelihood issues involved in utilisation of Boswellia serrata oleo-resin; presented a proposal for uplifting Batagur Kachuga from Appendix II to Appendix I of the CITES and listing of Nissilonia Turtle in Appendix I of the CITES.

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