Sharon Guynup writes in the NY Times:
INDIA’S tigers are in danger. In the year since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government has laid siege to the country’s environmental laws, threatening to undo recent conservation successes that have increased tiger numbers. India is the planet’s last stronghold for tigers, home to almost three-quarters of the 3,200 that remain in the wild across Asia.
Tigers have survived and prospered here because of increased protection and government efforts to relocate villages outside reserves, giving the big cats more space. A recent government census counted 2,226, a 30 percent increase in four years, and though researchers questioned the survey’s methods, there’s no question that tiger numbers are up.
But the Modi government’s aggressive focus on development threatens both the cats’ future and the nation’s environment. India is razing forests and flooding them with dams, giving the go-ahead for new mines and pushing rapid industrialization. The 2015 budget cut funding for the environment ministry by 25 percent and support for tiger protection by 15 percent.
At an international business meeting, the prime minister vowed to make India the “easiest” place to do business, noting, “we need the enabling policy framework.”
Read the rest here.