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Business News/ News / India/  India to set up international big cat alliance

India to set up international big cat alliance

Cabinet clears plan for International Big Cat Alliance, along the lines of the international solar alliance

Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav. (Photo: PTI) (PTI)Premium
Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav. (Photo: PTI) (PTI)

New Delhi: The Union environment ministry is planning to set up and coordinate an International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA), along the lines of the International Solar Alliance, an India-headquartered initiative to promote solar installations globally. The Union Cabinet approved the proposal on 29 February.

“India’s global leadership in tiger conservation has been recognized. The IBCA, which will be headquartered in India and to which India has already committed 150 crore (for five years) will lead initiatives to disseminate good practices in conserving big cats," Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav told reporters on Friday.

Globally, the ‘big cats’ include the tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar, and cheetah. Barring the puma and jaguar, the rest are found in India, with the latest—the cheetah—having been translocated under an experimental programme from South Africa to Kuno in Madhya Pradesh.

At present, there is a gap in many ‘big cat’ countries in resources, and in standardised practices and processes. There is no international body addressing the conservation challenges of big cats across their range of habitats. The pioneering and long-standing tiger and other big cat conservation good practices which have evolved in India can be replicated in many other countries, Yadav said.

Under this, India plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with 16 nations, including Cambodia, to translocate one male and two female tigers and these nations have already given their written consent to be part of the IBCA. There are 96 countries that harbour ‘big cats’ and the alliance is keen on other countries, conservation organisations, scientific organisations, businesses, and corporates interested in joining and supporting ‘big cats.’

A memorandum between India and Cambodia will help the country revive its extinct tiger population. There have been visits by Indian forest officials to ascertain the suitability of forests for reviving and sustaining a tiger population. An official from the Cambodian environment ministry said this week that a batch of tigers from India could be sent to Cambodia by the end of the year. Yadav, however, said that no concrete plans had been finalized for such an initiative.

The advantages of membership, an accompanying document noted, are a central common repository for technical know-how and a corpus of funds. The alliance will strengthen existing species-specific intergovernmental platforms, networks, and transnational initiatives on conservation and protection. The frontline staff in member countries will be trained in eliciting local support for big-cat conservation, and research and development in wildlife monitoring. Local communities living near the forests will also be encouraged and trained in developing eco-tourism and livelihood opportunities.

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Puja Das
Puja Das is a New Delhi based reporter, covering food, farm, fertiliser, water, and climate change policies for Mint. Puja reports on food security, farmers' distress and how the agriculture sector is impacting India's rural economy along with policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at COP21 in Paris. Puja holds a post-graduation degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media, Bangalore.
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Published: 01 Mar 2024, 07:26 PM IST
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