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India receives top marks for tiger conservation

India’s conservation efforts have received the highest score among five countries assessed for the viability of their wild tiger populations and may hold lessons for Southeast Asian countries where tigers appear headed for extinction, scientists said on January 28.

The Global Tiger Forum (GTF), an international intergovernmental body, has assigned a score of 0.78 on the basis of population and habitat viability analysis, ahead of 0.71 earned by both Bhutan and Russia, 0.70 by Nepal and 0.61 by Bangladesh.  The GTF’s secretary general Rajesh Gopal presented the scores at the third stocktaking conference called to discuss the status of tiger recovery efforts in 13 tiger countries that had pledged in a 2010 conference to double their collective tiger population by 2022.  India’s estimated tiger counts have increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 1,706 in 2010 to 2,226 in 2014, a rise widely cited as a measure of success of the country’s tiger conservation efforts launched in 1972. Scientists have also cited conservation efforts by Nepal and Bhutan as encouraging.  But scientists caution that India’s tigers still face challenges. “The biggest threats to tigers now are fragmentation of habitat and corridors that allow tigers to cross over from one habitat into another,” said Ravikiran Govekar, field director of the Pench tiger reserve that straddles Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.  Read more on this report by following the link below.