India may relocate tigers to Cambodia to grow global population

By Navin Singh Khadka
Environment reporter, BBC World Service

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image captionIndia is home to more than half the world's tigers

Tigers from India could be relocated to Cambodia as part of a plan to increase the animal's global population.

The decision to relocate tigers was agreed to in principle at a ministerial meeting in Delhi of 13 Asian nations with tiger populations.

The animals will be moved from countries where they are thriving to nations where they are almost extinct.

The estimated number of wild tigers worldwide has risen for the first time in a century, conservationists say.

The global tiger population is now estimated to be nearly 3,900 - up from 3,200 in 2010.

India alone has more than half the world's tigers with 2,226.

An international campaign aims to double the global population of the big cat by 2022.

Apart from Indian tigers, Amur tigers from Russia could also be relocated to Kazakhstan which has lost all its big cats.

media captionThe BBC's Richard Lister: "The threats have not gone away"

"The meeting has identified relocation of tigers as one of the effective measures for the recovery of population," Rajesh Gopal, secretary general of the Global Tiger Forum, an inter-governmental organisation established to save tigers from becoming extinct, told the BBC.

"Relocation will take place after necessary preparation of habitat and securing enough prey species for tigers."

Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told the BBC that the government was "ready to cooperate with all countries" to conserve tigers.

Keshav Varma, CEO of the Global Tiger Forum, said tigers could also be relocated within India.

"In Corbett national park, for instance, there are 260 tigers and the density is 20 tigers per 100 sq km (38 sq m) and there are national parks like Rajaji where just two or three female tigers are found."

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