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Our culture reason for increase in wildlife population in India PMs

Articles & Photo Credit Goes to UNI INDIA

Mysuru, Apr 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India's culture of protecting nature is the reason for the country having many unique achievements in wildlife conservation including increase in tiger population.

"India is a country where protecting nature is a part of culture. This is why it has many unique achievements in wildlife conservation ... including the increase in tiger population," he said at the commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger here.

Modi added: "We have thousands of years old history related to Tiger. Tiger images have been found in 10,000-year-old rock arts found in Madhya Pradesh. Many communities of the country like Bharia living in Central India and Worli living in Maharashtra worship Tiger. Tiger is considered a brother in many tribes here. And Tiger is the vehicle of Maa Durga and Lord Ayyappa."

With only 2.4 per cent of the world's land area, India contributes about 8 percent of the known global diversity, PM said.

India is the largest tiger range country in the world and with nearly 30,000 elephants, the country is the largest Asiatic elephant range country in the world, Modi said. "Our Rhino population is nearly 3,000, the largest single-horned Rhino country in the world," he added.

India is the only country in the world to have Asiatic lions, and their population has increased from around 525 in 2015 to around 675 in 2020, PM Modi said. "Our leopard population went up by over 60 per cent in just four years," he said.

The work being done to clean up rivers such as River Ganga has helped biodiversity, Modi said, adding that some aquatic species that were considered to be endangered have shown improvement. "These achievements are all due to people's participation and culture of conservation," he reiterated.

For wildlife to thrive it is important for the ecosystem to thrive, and this has been happening in India, Modi said.

While celebrating 75th year of Independence, India added 11 wetlands to its list of Ramsar sites, taking the total number of Ramsar sites to 75, Modi said.

Forest and tree cover are also increasing, he said, adding India has added over 2,200 square kms of forests and tree cover by 2021 compared to 2019.

In the last decade, the number of community reserves increased from 43 to over 100, Modi said.

In a decade, the number of national parks and sanctuaries, around which eco-sensitive zones were notified, increased from 9 to 468, he added.

Modi said Project Tiger leads the way in protection and conservation of the big cats. He said the success of Project Tiger is a matter of pride not only for India but for the whole world.

Modi said the presence of big cats has made a positive impact on the lives and ecology of the local people everywhere. "Big cats have increased the number of tourists in the tiger reserve and this has boosted the local economy," he said.

Modi said Cheetahs had become extinct in India decades ago, but this magnificent big cat was brought to the country from Namibia and South Africa. "This is the first successful trans-continental translocation of the big cat," he said.