Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ministry of Environment and Forests Formulates New System to Suppress Tiger Poaching in India

A tiger crossing a forest road

It has recently been reported that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is currently formulating an online tracking system to investigate poaching of tigers in India. The new system, known as the management information system (MIS), is said to provide actual-time exchange information among all of India's 47 tiger reserves and the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) in case of poaching incidents, confiscations of illegal wildlife products, and other wildlife crimes. According to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who addressed the 10th annual National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) meeting, the MIS-based tracking system will toughen the WCCB and help in restricting wildlife crimes in tiger reserves. The system will be initiated in a couple of weeks. While highlighting the significance of technology in tiger conservation, Minister Javadekar indicated that using the National Remote Sensing Center's (NRSC) "Alert System" would also be applied in case of natural disasters relating to wildfire and floods in tiger reserves. The system demonstrates a platform where all tiger reserves come on the same wavelength through an online mode, and access to it will be protected through the use of a password. The major benefit of this projected system is that any poaching incident reported from one tiger reserve would send a message to all other tiger reserves which would be put on high alert. Minister Javadekar further added that presently more than 50 percent of the world's wild tigers are in India and their numbers have decreased to over 1,600. The NTCA is currently calculating the tiger population and the census is predicted to be complete by the end of this year. In addition, it has also introduced standard operating procedures (SOP) for raising orphaned tiger cubs and reintroducing them into the wild. The MoEF has even asked India's states to nominate protected areas as tiger reserves and is helping them financially and technically to establish response teams to save the tigers.

There seems to be a sense of hope for India's tigers concerning their protection and conservation with the development and introduction of a unique online system designed to allow exchange of information among all of the country's tiger reserves. At the same time, the MoEF is helping all of India's states that are home to tigers both financially and technically to set up response teams to save the animals. In addition, it has also asked the states to propose protected areas as tiger reserves. This combination of using an online system, establishing response teams, and proposing protected areas as crucial tiger sanctuaries would greatly help in saving India's tiger population from further decreasing in the hands of poachers and other wildlife criminals. However, there are five other subspecies of tigers in Asia whose populations are not known to be either stable or under constant threat from humans. These are the Indochinese, Malayan, Siberian, South China, and Sumatran tigers. Two of the remaining five subspecies, the South China and Sumatran tigers, are listed as "critically endangered" which indicates that they are in need of crucial help regarding their protection and conservation in their homelands. This is why it would be beneficial if the government of India would join forces with its counterparts in Southeast Asia, China, and Russia in order to devise plans similar to what is being done now to guarantee protection and survival for India's tigers.

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