By Vijaita Singh
The government is planning to rehabilitate orphaned tiger cubs in the wild as the tiger population has dipped due to poaching.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, while replying to a question during the “zero hour” in Rajya Sabha, said there were “shoot at sight” orders for poachers and more than 20 poachers were killed in Kaziranga last year.
The Minister added that participation of tribals was an integral and essential part of the anti-poaching drive and they were recruiting tribals in the Special Tiger Protection Force who knew and loved the jungle.
“More importantly, what we feel is that these tigers need special care. And for orphan tiger cubs, we not only have standard operating procedures but are also creating a crèche-like facility for them. In fact, crèche is not a correct word, but what we are doing is creating an environment where they will be re-wilded successfully by taking care,” Javadekar said.
The minister said that as per the latest estimate, there were more than 1,700 tigers and India has 60 per cent of the world tiger population.
On the issue raised by CPI(M) MP T N Seema that tribals were being displaced for tiger habitation, Javadekar replied, “We are not evicting tribals forcefully. What we are doing is encouraging their relocation, because we have to shift these tiger reserves without habitation so that natural wildlife happens and it subsists. So, what we are encouraging is relocation with adequate compensation.”
The Minister also added that a small committee of MPs can be formed to advise on tiger conservation.