India’s once thriving tiger population is rapidly declining, prompting great concern from preservation groups. In what the Associated Press called an “unprecedented attempt to revive the tiger population” in Western India, the Indian government airlifted two tigers to a national reserve this week.
The tigers were carried by Indian Air Force helicopters to Sariska Tiger Reserve in the western state of Rajasthan, whose entire tiger population has been wiped out by poachers during the last decade.
Poaching and a vanishing habitat have savaged Indian tigers, which were believed to number in the tens of thousands a century ago. The tiger population has dropped from nearly 3,600 five years ago to about 1,400, according to the latest tiger census in February.
In its coverage of the tiger airlift, the Times of London details the troubled history of the Sariska Tiger Reserve.
Sariska used to be India's most famous tiger sanctuary and was at the centre of the Project Tiger conservation programme launched by Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister, in 1973. In a big embarrassment for Indian wildlife authorities, the Government was forced to admit in 2005 that all of the tigers in the park had been killed.
Since then, the Government has launched an emergency programme to rescue the tiger, vowing to create eight new reserves and a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers.
More on the issue at The Hindu:
Poaching and a vanishing habitat have hit tiger numbers in India over the years. They were believed to number in the tens of thousands a century ago but the population has dropped from nearly 3,600 five years ago to about 1,400, according to an official tiger census done across the country in February 2008.