14 Indian tiger reserves get global accreditation (Lead, correcting para 8)

Fourteen of India’s 51 tiger reserves have received prestigious global accreditation from Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CATS), it was announced at the Global Tiger Day event held by the Environment Ministry here on Thursday.

Manas, Kaziranga, and Oran (Assam), Satpura, Panna, and Kanha (Madhya Pradesh), Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh), Pench (Maharashtra), Sunderbans (West Bengal), Valmiki Nagar (Bihar), Parambikulam (Kerala), Mudumalai and Annamalai (Tamil Nadu) and Bandipur (Karnataka) tiger reserves received the accreditation.

However, more popular tiger resorts such as Corbett, and Ranthambore do not feature on the list. Also, only three other tiger reserves – one each from Russia, Nepal, and Bhutan – been bestowed this honour.

The government had initiated this process of CATS standardisation process 10 years ago.

Addressing the event, Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav said: “We are not owners, but we are the trustees of this natural inheritance. We are the trustees of the country, of the nature and of the local community too. We need to acknowledge the contribution of the local community in tiger conservation.”

He also appealed to the Ministry staff and forest field staff to recognise the indigenous knowledge of the community along with the scientific knowledge.

Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Ashwini Chaubey said: “We have traditionally valued and worshipped all living beings.” He went on to recount a story from mythology related to Parvati and how she took upon tiger as her ‘vahan’ (ride) and drew parallel for lessons in conservations.

Environment, Forests and Climate Change Secretary R.P. Gupta said: “While India has been successful in conserving the wildlife by and large, the situation continues to remain worrisome due to habitat destruction, illegal trafficking etc.”

A report on the leopard census too was released on the occasion.