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Cabinet okays setting up of International Big Cat Alliance

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
Mar 01, 2024 04:30 AM IST

The Cabinet approved the creation of the IBCA, with its headquarters in India, to establish a global network for conserving tigers and other big cats.

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved the creation of the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA), with its headquarters in India, to establish a global network for conserving tigers and other big cats.

In this file image, cheetahs seen at Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district. (PTI)
In this file image, cheetahs seen at Kuno National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh's Sheopur district. (PTI)

The government also approved a one-time budgetary support of 150 crore for the multi-country, multi-agency coalition of 96 big cat range countries for a period of five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28.

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“With big cats as mascots for sustainable development and livelihood security, India and the big cat range countries can usher in major efforts on environmental resilience and climate change mitigation, while paving a future where natural ecosystems continue to thrive, and gain centrality in economic and development policies,” the Union environment ministry said in a statement.

In a post on X, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the decision on the establishment of the IBCA. “The Cabinet decision… marks a major step towards conserving our majestic big cats and their habitats, and also reinforcing India’s leadership in global biodiversity conservation,” he said.

At a Cabinet briefing, Union minister Anurag Thakur said scientific institutions and corporations involved in environmental conservation would also be members of the IBCA.

The IBCA seeks to conserve the tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and the cheetah. Of these, the tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard and cheetah are found in India.

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During the commemoration of 50 years of Project Tiger in April last year, Modi had announced the establishment of the IBCA. “Together we will save these species from extinction, and create a safe and healthy ecosystem,” he said.

“India has shown incredible leadership in big cat conservation, particularly tigers, by demonstrating tremendous political support for the species. Tiger numbers in the country have doubled recently, well ahead of the global Tx2 target timeframe. India has also successfully translocated a big cat species from one continent to another through the Project Cheetah. All these experiences will come in handy for India to lead the big cat conservation programme. India has four transboundary landscapes: Terai Arc and Kanchenjunga with Nepal, Transboundary Manas Conservation Area (TraMCA) with Bhutan, and Sundarbans with Bangladesh. India can engage with neighbouring countries through the alliance to secure transboundary connectivity. This is much needed as the transboundary landscapes for large mammals, big cats in particular, will only survive if they remain connected and best practices from both sides of the border and international organisations can be ploughed in,” said Dr Dipankar Ghose, Senior Director, Biodiversity Conservation, WWF-India

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