Can your tiger picture on Facebook aid poachers?
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The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has written to the heads of State Forest Departments, including in Karnataka, saying pictures of tigers or camera traps, which reveal information about the location of the image, were being circulated in Facebook and WhatsApp, and these had the potential of being used for wildlife crimes.
According to data available on the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) website, 66 tigers were found dead around the country in 2014; in most cases the reports on cause of deaths is awaited. There were 12 instances of seizure of tiger parts and skins in this period.
Tiger poaching in India
Tiger poaching in India has seriously impacted the probability of survival of tigers in India. About 3,000 wild tigers now survive compared with 100,000 at the turn of the 20th century. This abrupt decimation in population count was largely due to the slaughter of tigers by colonial and Indian elite, during the British Raj period, and indeed following India’s independence
Most of those remaining, about 1,700, are India’s Bengal tigers.
Project Tiger in India had been hailed as a great success until it was discovered that the initial count of tigers have been seriously flawed
Most of the tiger parts end up in China where a single skin can sell for Rs. 6.5 million.
For poachers there has been about a four percent conviction rate.
Sansar Chand, the notorious Tiger poacher acknowledged to selling 470 tiger skins and 2,130 leopard skins to just four clients from Nepal and Tibet.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has played a crucial role in improving international efforts for tiger conservation.
CITES is an international governance network employing tools and measures which adapt and become more efficient with time
One measure specifically aimed at protecting the tiger is visible in the network’s efforts to ban the trade of tigers or tiger derivatives.
CITES members have agreed to adhere to this international trade ban; once a member states ratifies and implements CITES it bans such trade within its national borders
The CITES Secretariat is administrated by the UNEP which works closely with NGOs such as The Trade Records Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce (TRAFFIC) to assist member states with the implementation of the convention.
States are provided with training and information about requirements (when necessary), and their progress and a compliance are monitored and evaluated.
In order for CITES to work effectively it requires the involvement of institutions, NGOs, civil society and member states: especially Asian tiger range member countries. The Tiger Range Countries (TRC) – countries where tigers still roam free – are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, Vietnam and North-Korea. Whilst there have been no recent tigers sightings in North-Korea, it is the only country listed which has not ratified CITES.
Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in 1973 by the Government of India during Prime Minister
Indira Gandhi’s tenure. The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats and also to protect them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the tiger’s distribution in the country.
Project Tiger’s main aim was to:
1.Limit factors that leads to reduction of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management. The damages done to the habitat were to be rectified so as to facilitate the recovery of the ecosystem to the maximum possible extent.
2.To ensure a viable population of tigers for economic, scientific, cultural, aesthetic and ecological values.
The Indian tiger population at the turn of the 20th century was estimated at 20,000 to 40,000 individuals. The first country-wide tiger census conducted in 1972 estimated the population to comprise a little more than 1,800 individuals, an alarming reduction in tiger population.
In 1973, the project was launched in the [Corbett National Park of Uttarakhand].
The various tiger reserves were created in the country based on ‘core-buffer’ strategy:
Project Tiger is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The habitats covered under Project tiger are:
1.Shivalik-terai conservation unit
2.North East conservation unit
3.Sunderbans conservation unit
4.Western ghats conservation unit
5.Eastern ghats conservation unit
6.Central India conservation unit
7.Sariska conservation unit
Presently 50 tiger reserves in India
Population of tiger-2226(2014)
The National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.