"Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has said that a Bill to amend the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, would make poaching a stringent crime. The Bill is to be tabled soon during the ongoing parliament session.
On a visit to the Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, Ramesh lauded the efforts of the park authorities in achieving notable success tiger conservation.
"Ten years ago this tiger reserve (Nagarjunasagar Tiger Reserve) was in a very poor condition but it has turned around. The tiger population is also quite significant but we have a serious problem of grazing there," he said.
"The amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 are going to be introduced in this session of parliament. We are proposing stringent punishment for anybody who violates Wildlife Protection Act. We want to put the violator of the Wildlife Protection Act at par with the person who violates foreign exchange laws," he added.
Project Tiger, a central government scheme, has been under implementation since 1973.
The main objective of the project is to ensure a viable tiger population in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.
Initially, the project started with nine tiger reserves, covering an area of 16,339 square kilometres, with a population of 268 tigers. At present there are 27 tiger reserves covering an area of 37,761 square kilometres with an estimated population of 1,498 tigers."
-- WHAT!?!? 1498?!?! Who're they kidding?