3291. SHRI SUNIL KUMAR SINGH:
Will the Minster of ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE be pleased to state:
(a) the population of black panther and white tigers in the country at present, State-wise;
(b) whether their number has increased during the last three years and if so, the details thereof;
(c) the steps taken by the Government to increase their population;
(d) whether the Government proposes to set up breeding centres for panther and tiger in the country including Jharkhand, if so, the time by which such centres are likely to be set up, State-wise; and
(e) the details of breeding centres for other species of wild animals functioning in the country, State-wise?
MINISTER OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOREST AND CLIMATE CHANGE (SHRI ANIL MADHAV DAVE)
(a) & (b) Black Panther and White Tiger are not different species/sub-species of Leopard and Tiger respectively. It is due to hyper-melanism, and albinism in normal animals. There are no free ranging white tigers in India.
No leopard census has been undertaken in the country so far. However, during the national level estimation of tiger population by Wildlife Institute of India, an effort was also made to estimate the leopard populations across the tiger range States using capture-recapture frame work using camera traps. The number of leopards during 2014 population estimation in forested habitats of tiger range states is reported to be in the range of 6566-9181 animals.
( c ) The important steps taken by the Government to increase wildlife population including Leopards and Panthers are as given below:
(i) Legal protection has been provided to wild animals including leopards against hunting and commercial exploitation under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
(ii) In addition to provision of stringent punishment for the offenders, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 also provides for forfeiture of any equipment, vehicle or weapon that is used for committing wildlife offence(s).
(iii) Protected Areas, viz., National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves covering important wildlife habitats have been created all over the country under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to conserve wild animals including leopards and their habitats.
(iv) Financial and technical assistance is provided to the State/ Union Territory Governments under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats`, ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’ for providing better protection to wildlife, and improvement of its habitat.
(v) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has been empowered under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to apprehend and prosecute wildlife offenders.
(vi) The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau has been set up to ensure co-ordination among various officers and State Governments in connection with the enforcement of law for control of poaching and illegal trade in wildlife and its products.
(vii) Strict vigil is maintained by the officials of State Departments of Forests and Wildlife.
(d) There is no proposal in the Ministry, from any States/UT’s including Jharkhand, for setting up breeding centres for Panthers and Tigers.
(e) Details of functioning breeding centres for other species of wild animals, as identified by the Central Zoo Authority for Conservation Breeding Programme are at Annexure.