17 of the 38 project tiger reserves in the country are in very bad shape and if the situation persists, the condition of these tiger reserves could be next Sariska (Rajasthan) and Panna in Madhya Pradesh where all tigers have become extinct, said Union Minister for Forests and Environment Jairam Ramesh.
According to him, only nine tiger reserves are in good situation while 12 are managed satisfactorily, but more needs to be done. The diminishing population of tigers in the country is very "alarming" and the rampant killing of big cats is a cause of concern, he said. "We have taken it very seriously and that's why three regional offices of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) would be set up in three regions of the country within the next three months, including one at Nagpur," he informed.
Ramesh described 2009 as "the worst year" for tigers in India as the country lost 60 tigers while the figure was 35 in 2008. "The country is suffering a lot for smuggling of tiger skins and bones in neighbouirng countries like China," he admitted. "Medicine and other products in China through Tigers are part of Chinese ethos," he pointed out. As a conservationist and an environmentalist, their stand and their attitude are appalling.
The union minister held a meeting with the Maharashtra Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam and state forest officials in Nagpur on Wednesday evening and announced Rs 100-crore for rehabilitation of tiger project areas families. "The money would be released in the next financial year and it would boost the tiger protection and conservation of the state," he added.
The minister also endorsed the proposals to set up Tiger Foundations for three project tigers of the state--- Tadoba, Pench and Melghat.