From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published February 24, 2013 06:31 AM

Tigers Get the Conservation Love in India

Nearly half of India's wildlife budget goes to one species: the tiger, reports a recent article in Live Mint. India has devoted around $63 million to wildlife conservation for 2013-2013, of which Project Tiger receives $31 million. The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) is currently listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List; however India is also home to 132 species currently considered Critically Endangered, the highest rating before extinction.

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After tigers, elephants receive the next greatest amount: $4 million or 6 percent of the total. Combating the illegal wildlife trade—one of the gravest threats to many of India's species—is funded with just $1 million. Many of the nation's species receive no government funding whatsoever.

"The Great Indian bustard was a priority species for action for which we even developed a species recovery plan (along with the Bengal florican, the lesser florican, Jerdon's courser, the giant clam, the hangul, the Bastar wild buffalo), but funds were not allocated by the government," Asad Rahmani, the director of the Bombay Natural History Society told Live Mint.

The Great Indian bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) is down to only about 250 individuals. The hangul, or Kashmir stag (Cervus elaphus hanglu), has fallen to 160 individuals. After being thought extinct for 80 years, Jerdon's courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus) may be down to just fifty birds.

Tiger cubs photo via Shutterstock.

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