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Tiger reserves important not just for tigers but water security also: Env Minister

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) The tiger reserves are not just for tigers, but they are far more vital as more than 35 rivers originate from these areas which are crucial for water security, Union Environment, Forests, and Climate Change Minister, Bhupender Yadav said on Wednesday.

"We have 51 tiger reserves in the country and efforts are being made to bring more areas under the tiger reserve network. The tiger reserves are not just for tigers because more than 35 rivers originate from these areas which are crucial for water security. The 5th cycle of All India Tiger Estimation, which is currently underway, will help in taking correct policy decision," he said.

The Union Minister also released a Water Atlas that has mapped all the water bodies in the tiger bearing areas of India. Landscape wise information has been outlined in the Water Atlas which include the Shivalik Hills, the Gangetic plain landscape, central Indian Landscape, Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats landscape, North-Eastern Hills, Brahmaputra flood plains, and the Sundarbans.

He was speaking at the 19th meeting of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) held here. A power point presentation was made on the occasion explaining various initiatives of the NTCA.

Yadav said while tiger continues to be an endangered species, the situation calls for adopting as well as active management and added that for effective management of tiger population, it is imperative to have reliable estimate of tiger number at tiger reserve and landscape level.

The Minister also informed that today 14 Tiger reserves have been accredited under Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CA|TS) and NTCA is working on getting other tiger reserves evaluated for the accreditation. He also said there is a need for vision plan to put tigers on assured path of recovery and conservation and suggested that six committees be formed so that they can visit two tiger reserves each and study various aspects and problems to help in formulating better policy.

He aid that Prime Minister is keen on protection and conservation of seven major big cats including Cheetah and these numbering 50 over a period of 5 years will be introduced in various parks.

Apart from the Ministry officials, Secretary, Leena Nadan and DGF Chandra Prakash Goyal, Members of Parliament Diya Kumari, Rajeev Pratap Ruddy and Harshvardhan Singh Dungarpur were also present.