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India, Russia to collaborate on saving rare wildlife


                                                                                                                                 The Pioneer, New Delhi, 10th February, 2015



Russia and India will collaborate on saving of rare wildlife species, including tigers. This was discussed during the recent visit of the Russian Environment Minister Sergei Donskoi. Further, the two countries have also teamed up along with 11 other countries to achieve zero poaching of tigers in Asia.

According to sources in Environment Ministry, the two countries had already signed a bilateral cooperation in this regard way back in 1994, but the visit of Donskoi has rejuvenated the decade-old effort. The joint working group will soon hold a meeting in this regard reviewing the latest situation.

Russia is working towards the conservation of Amur tigers which are much rarer than the Royal Bengal tigers found in India. Primorye in the south of Russia is the only area in the world where both Siberian /Amur tigers and leopards still exist in the wild. It is working on habitat protection and anti-poaching mechanisms to protect its tigers. “Both the countries will exchange their tiger management techniques adopting the best practices in this regard,” said the sources.

In another development, Russia and India along with other tiger range countries as Bhutan, Bangladesh,  Myanmar, Nepal and Vietnam are working out strategies  for Asia-wide operations to combat poaching of endangered species as tigers besides rhino and elephants.

The conference called, ‘Zero Poaching in Asia’ is being organised in Kathmandu. It has been hosted by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Nepal in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The event is part of the global effort to double the tiger population by 2022.

According to Mike Baltzer, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, Nepal and India are regarded as the tiger heavyweights in Asia. While Nepal takes pride in having achieved zero poaching in iots country, India has recorded 30 per cent increase in tiger count since 2010.

The conference acknowledged the efforts of both the countries that have mobilised local communities for conserving and utilising forest resources which have helped conservation efforts. Income generated by the national parks is diverted for community development and eco development activities.