Fourteen tiger reserves of India, including three each in Assam and Madhya Pradesh, have attained the globally accepted Conservation Assured |Tiger Standards accreditation, the environment ministry announced on International Tiger Day on Thursday.
Surprisingly, the three most popular tiger reserves in terms of tourist footfalls — Corbett (Uttarakhand), Ranthambore (Rajasthan) and Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh) — did not get the CA|TS tag which is a conservation tool for best practices and standards to manage tigers.
Drawing attention to this fact during a function to share details of the elite tag of tiger conservation areas, environment secretary R P Gupta said, “When I saw the list, I found that the 14 areas (reserves) are such where tourists’ presence is not that much. So, it’s very vital that we just don’t make these tiger reserves a tourist destination as our topmost priority.”
The 14 reserves which figured in the list include Manas, Kaziranga and Orang in Assam; Sundarbans in West Bengal; Valmiki in Bihar; Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh; Panna, Kanha and Satpura in Madhya; Pradesh; Pench in Maharashtra; Anamalai and Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu; Parambikulam in Kerala; and Bandipur, Karnataka.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while tweeting on International Tiger Day, reiterated India’s commitment to ensuring safe habitats for tigers and nurturing tiger-friendly eco-systems.
As per the last census (2018), India has 2,967 tigers and 12,852 leopards. While the population of tigers recorded an increase of 33% since the last census (2014), leopard numbers recorded a jump of 62% since 2014.