NEW DELHI India will spend an estimated 6
billion rupees ($150 million) over the next five years in an
attempt to save its endangered tigers, the cabinet said on
The number of tigers in India has plummeted to between
1,300 to 1,500 from about 40,000 a century ago, according to
provisional government survey results, as humans either kill
them for their body parts or encroach on their habitat.
India's tiger conservation authority had a budget of only
1.5 billion rupees for the previous five years.
"It's a big jump which shows the government has given much
importance to the issue of conserving tigers," said Rajesh
Gopal, head of India's National Tiger Conservation Authority.
"If the pressures on tigers are reduced then the animal
numbers can recover readily."
Some of the new money will be spent on shifting villages
and tribal communities away from tiger habitats, according to a
statement issued by the cabinet.
"One particular thing there's always been a lack of money
for is moving people," said Vivek Menon, the executive director
of the Wildlife Trust of India, a conservation charity. "If the
money is used for that purpose, then it is a good thing."
India will also establish eight new tiger reserves, the
Although conservationists welcome the extra resources, some
critics say a lack of money has not been the only problem so
much as bad management and outright corruption at some of
India's tiger reserves.
In 2005, the government announced that there were no tigers
left in Sariska Tiger Reserve, more than 30 years after it had
set up Project Tiger, a national effort to protect the species.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; editing by Simon Denyer and