Chamarajnagar : Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Chamarajanagar on Sunday, April 09, 2023. (Photo:IANS/Twitter)

Mysuru (Karnataka), April 9 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the success of the ‘Project Tiger’ in India is a matter of pride not only for the country but for the whole world as the country not only saved tigers but also provided an ecosystem for them to thrive on.

Addressing a gathering in Mysuru on the completion of 50 years of Project Tiger, PM Modi while taking note of the rising numbers of tigers said that this was a moment of pride.

“On the occasion of the completion of 75 years of Independence… during this time around 75 per cent of tigers are in India. In a period of 10 to 12 years, 75 per cent of the tiger population had increased,” he said.

PM Modi further said that “wildlife lovers wondered when the number of tigers remained stable or decreased in other places, how in India the numbers are growing fast. It is because of Indians’ reverence towards nature.

“We are not seeing ecology and economy as a conflict and coexistence is given importance. The society shared thousands of years of history with tigers. In Madhya Pradesh 10,000-year-old rock arts have pictures of tigers.

“The communities in central India worshipped tigers and many others treated them as their family. The tiger is a mode of transport for Ma Durga and Ayyappa (Hindu gods). India is the only country where protecting nature is a part of the culture.

“This is why unique achievement in wildlife conservation is possible… with only 2.4 per cent of land area in the world contributes 8 per cent of known global diversity,” he explained.

PM Modi stated that India is the largest tiger range country in the world. “With nearly 30,000 elephants we are the largest Asiatic elephant country in the world. Our Rhino population of 3,000 makes us home to the largest single-horn rhinos in the world. We are the only country to have Asiatic lions. They were 525 in 2015 and 675 in 2020. The numbers of leopards went up by 60 per cent in four years.

“The work taken up to clean River Ganga helped biodiversity and aquatic life that was in danger,” said PM Modi. He also stated that he was making the use of his Gujarat experience as the CM in wildlife conservation. The increase in the number of big cats attracts a large number of tourists and helps the local economy, he added.