India Believes In Coexistence Of Economy And Ecology: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the success of 'Project Tiger' was a matter of pride not only for India but the whole world.

PM Modi at Bandipur Tiger Reserve

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India did not believe in conflict between ecology and economy but gave importance to coexistence between the two.

Protection of wildlife was a universal issue, Modi said, launching the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA), which endeavours to protect and conserve big cats.

The Prime Minister was speaking after inaugurating the programme ‘Commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger’ organised at Karnataka State Open University.

Citing data about the tiger population in India, which stood at 3,167 in 2022, Modi said, "The tiger numbers that we have reached shows that this family of ours is growing. This is a moment of pride." Calling for a standing ovation to celebrate the rise in tiger population, he added, "I'm confident and I assure the world that in the days to come we will achieve more."

According to the data, the tiger population was 1,411 in 2006, 1,706 in 2010, 2,226 in 2014, 2,967 in 2018 and 3,167 in 2022.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav and Minister of State Ashwini Kumar Choubey were present, among others, at the event.

The Prime Minister said the success of 'Project Tiger' was a matter of pride not only for India but the whole world. 

Stating that India had not only saved tigers, but created an ecosystem for them to flourish, he said, "India is a country where protecting nature is part of the culture."

"For wildlife to thrive, it is important for ecosystems to thrive. This has been happening in India," he said, adding that protecting wildlife was not the issue of just one country, but a global one.

Pointing out that cheetahs had become extinct in India decades ago, the Prime Minister referred to the recent initiative where the big cats were brought to India from Namibia and South Africa, and said it was the first successful transcontinental translocation of the big cat. 

He also highlighted the fact that four cubs had been born to these cheetahs at Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh.

In July 2019, the Prime Minister had called for an Alliance of Global Leaders to obliterate demand for poached articles and to firmly curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia. Taking that message forward, the International Big Cat Alliance was launched today, officials said.

IBCA will focus on protection and conservation of seven major big cats of the world -- tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah -- with range countries harbouring these species being its members. 

The Sahyadris or Western Ghats have several tribal communities who have worked for wild life and tigers to flourish, Modi noted as he lauded their contribution in conservation efforts.