Tiger Range countries to release latest census

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New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) After four long years, 15 countries where tigers still roam free will come together on Tuesday to participate in the ‘Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation’ during which the latest tiger census will be presented.

The three-day conference, which will see conservation experts, ministers and senior officials from 15 Tiger Range countries gather together, will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

“The prime minister will inaugurate the Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation. More than 700 tiger experts and other stakeholders are gathering to discuss the issues related to tiger conservation,” union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a statement.

At the conference, the tiger countries will submit the updated census on the big, striped cats, as per the recommendation of the 2nd Stocktaking Conference to Review Implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP) in 2014 in Dhaka.

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The conference is being hosted at the ‘mid-way’ of the “Global Tiger Summit” resolution adopted by 13 tiger range countries in 2010 at St. Petersburg, Russia, which was to double the tiger population by 2022 — ‘The Year of Tiger’ as per Chinese calender.

India has also hiked the budget for Project Tiger to Rs.380 crore, Javadekar said. This is around Rs.240 crore more than the last budgetary allocation, a record hike.

“We have allotted Rs.380.00 crore to the Project Tiger in the current fiscal year, which is an all-time high and indicates that the Government of India is committed to the conservation of our national animal,” said Javadekar.

Representatives from the earlier 13 Tiger Range Countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam as well as the two new ones of Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan will be participating. The two new countries gained entry for the Snow Leopard.

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While several Tiger Range Countries like India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan have registered an increase in tiger population, the status of tiger remains ‘endangered’, and has declined to ‘non-viable’ level in some range countries, a cause for concern. India is home to 70 percent of the world’s tigers.

As per 2014 census, India had 2,226 tigers in 2014, which was 800 more than 2006. The country had 1,411 tigers in 2006, with 1,706 recorded four years later in 2010. Russia and Indonesia with 433 and 371 tigers respectively, have also recorded a hike in tiger population. China has just seven tigers left, according to data.

The Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation (AMCTC) is a part of Global Tiger Summit which was hosted at St. Petersburg, Russia in 2010.

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The first AMCTC was hosted in 2010 at Thailand and the second in 2012 in Bhutan.

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