33% rise in number of big cats in India
MUMBAI, July 29: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will feature in a special episode of Discovery’s “Man vs Wild” which will highlight “issues related to environmental change.”
According to a statement from the channel, the special episode, featuring adventurer Bear Grylls and shot in India’s Jim Corbett National Park, will be a “frank and freewheeling journey” which will throw light on wildlife conservation.
The episode will premiere on August 12 and will be showcased in more than 180 countries across the world on Discovery network of channels.
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“For years, I have lived among nature, in the mountains and the forests. These years have a lasting impact on my life. So when I was asked about a special programme focussing on life beyond politics and that too in the midst of nature I was both intrigued and inclined to take part in it,” the PM said in a statement.
“For me, this show presents a great opportunity to showcase to the world India’s rich environmental heritage and stress on the importance of environment conservation and living in harmony with nature. It was a great experience spending time in the jungle once again, this time with Bear, who is blessed with indefatigable energy and quest to experience nature at its purest,” he added.
Bear said it was a privilege to take the PM “on an adventure into the Indian wilderness.”
“I feel truly honoured to get to spend time with this remarkable world leader. The wild reminds us that we need each other and that together we are stronger. I am so excited to spend time with the PM and to get to know the man who leads this great nation,” he added.
Sharing the teaser of the episode on Twitter today, Bear said it will be an opportunity for people across the globe to see the unknown side of the Indian Prime Minister.
In his response to Bear, Modi said the episode will contribute to the discourse of environmental conservation.
“India- where you find lush green forests, diverse wildlife, beautiful mountains and mighty rivers. Watching this programme will make you want to visit different parts of India and add to discourse of environmental conservation,” the PM tweeted.
The 45-second-long clip teases the episode as an “epic adventure of a lifetime” and the one that unites “an ace adventurer” with “the leader of the world’s largest democracy”.
As they explore the wild lands of Jim Corbett, Bear presents Modi with a makeshift spear and promises to keep the “most important man in India” safe.
Meanwhile, “From Ek Tha Tiger to Tiger Zinda Hai”—this is how Modi captured India’s story of tiger conservation with the latest Government data showing a 33 per cent rise in the number of big cats in the country.
The Prime Minister referred to the two Salman Khan-starrer Bollywood movies while releasing the All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018 which stated that tiger population in the country has increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018.
“I want to tell the people associated with it that the story which started with Ek Tha Tiger and reached Tiger Zinda Hai should not stop there. This will not work. The work towards tiger conservation has to be expanded and sped up,” Modi said.
On the ‘development versus environment conservation’ debate, Modi said striking a balance between the two is possible.
With around 3,000 tigers, India has emerged as one of the biggest and safest habitats for them in the world, Modi said as he lauded all the stakeholders involved in the country’s tiger conservation exercise.
“Nine long years ago, it was decided in St. Petersburg (Russia) that the target of doubling the tiger population would be 2022. We in India completed this target four years in advance. This is the finest example of Sankalp se Siddhi (attainment through resolve),” he said.
In the last five years, Modi said the focus was on developing next generation infrastructure, but there has also been an increase in forest cover and number of protected areas.
“In 2014, the number of protected areas were 692. It rose to more than 860 in 2019. Similarly, the number of community reserves were 43 in 2014 which rose to more than 100 in 2019,” he said.
The Prime Minister said India will build more homes for its citizens and also create quality habitats for animals at the same time.
As a concluding remark, Modi, again used a popular Bollywood song to emphasis the need for continued efforts to protect tigers.
“There is a popular Bollywood song, Bago mein Bahar hai…now it can be Bagho mein…”
According to the tiger estimation report, the tiger population in India was 1,411 in 2006.
It said while the number of tigers have increased nationwide, there was a decline in its population in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. This, the report stated was “a cause of concern”.
The report was prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
The report covered 3,81,400 sq kms of forests which were surveyed for tiger signs and prey estimation.
Nearly 27,000 camera traps were set up at 141 locations covering an area of 121,337 sq km and taking nearly 3.48 crore photographs. Out of the total pictures, nearly 77,000 were of tigers.
The number of tigers in Chhattisgarh has come down from 46 in 2014 to 19 in 2018.
Similarly, in Andhra Pradesh, the tiger population has come down to 48 in 2018 from 68 in 2014.
In Madhya Pradesh, the number of tigers has increased from 308 in 2014 to 526 in 2018, while in Maharashtra, it has gone up from 190 in 2014 to 312 in 2018.
The much awaited tiger census report was to be released in May this year but it got delayed due to the intense methods and time taken in analysing data, a Government official had earlier said.
As per the report, forest officials also covered 5,22,996 km while conducting foot survey for tiger signs and sampled 3,17,958 habitat plots for vegetation and prey dung. (PTI)