World Bank, CII to set up new tiger conservation fund

The World Bank has tied up with India’s largest industry association, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in a program to double India’s tiger numbers by 2022.

Under the joint program, the World Bank group and the CII will set up an India Wildlife Business Council (IWBC).

The size of the fund was not disclosed.

India is home to one of the biggest populations of tigers in the world. However, relentless poaching and population expansion has shrunk India’s tiger habitat to just 7% of its traditional area.

The tiger is India’s national animal and the country conducts a tiger census every year mapping the number and extent of tiger habitation in the country.

Though tiger numbers have stabilized of late at around 3,000 in the wild, their habitation area has been shrinking almost every year.

CII and the World Bank hope to infuse more radical ideas into the conservation program through private sector participation.

“Bringing private sector into this effort will infuse new ideas and new resources, changing the dynamic between industry and conservation and will serve as a powerful instrument of change,” said Robert Zoellick, World Bank president.

The two institutions said the idea behind the effort was not to be merely altruistic, but to help in the long term survival of the human population on the earth.

“Tiger conservation and the protection of their habitat is paramount for maintaining biodiversity, which is the natural capital that has helped drive economic growth and prosperity in India.

“Conservation and sustainable development will also have a profound ripple effect on India’s poverty alleviation, watershed protection, natural hazard regulation, food security and agricultural services, medicinal and recreation and tourism,” the two said, announcing the tie-up.

The IWBC, being set up, will improve the dialogue between business, conservation stakeholders as well as decision-makers, the two said.