B. Sivakumar TNN TOI
CHENNAI: The German government has sanctioned 20 million euros (Rs 166.94 crore) to the International Union of Nature Conservation (IUCN) for conservation of tigers in India and a few other Asian countries.
The aim of the funding is to help increase the number of tigers in the wild and improve the livelihood of communities living in and close to their habitat. The agreement was signed at IUCN headquarters in Gland, Switzerland, on Tuesday. "The tiger is the face of Asia's biodiversity and an emblem of the world's natural heritage," Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general, wrote in an email to TOI. "The generous support from Germany provides great hope for this iconic species, which is currently on the brink of extinction. Saving the tiger depends on restoring its rapidly shrinking forest habitat. This will regenerate valuable ecosystem services and improve the lives of some of the most marginalized people on our planet," she said.
The five-year Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme will benefit NGOs and conservation authorities from selected tiger range countries which, at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, committed to doubling the number of tigers occurring within their territories by 2020. Eligible countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam. India is said to have the maximum number of tigers in the wild, and the programme would involve improving the management of tiger habitats, tackling tiger-human conflicts, increasing anti-poaching efforts and law enforcement and involving local communities in tiger conservationwork, she said.
According to the IUCN, out of nine recognized subspecies of tigers, three are extinct (Javan, Caspian and Bali), one is possibly extinct (South China), one critically endangered (Sumatran) and four endangered (Bengal, Amur, Indochinese and Malayan).
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