New Delhi: India and Cambodia signed a MoU regarding the reintroduction of tigers in Cambodia on Saturday.
The MoU was signed between the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, India and Ministry of Environment, Cambodia for Cooperation in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Wildlife Management.
It was signed in the presence of Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Dhankhar arrived in Cambodia on his maiden three-day tour on Friday to attend a host of events including the ASEAN India Commemorative Summit and the 17th East Asia Summit
The talks to reintroduction of tiger in Cambodia was started in 2016, at the third ministerial conference held in Delhi in 2016, where 15 range countries and 700 tiger experts gathered to discuss translocation of some Indian tigers to Cambodia.
A World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) report titled ‘Bringing Back Cambodia’s Roar: Reintroducing Tigers To The Eastern Plains’ has stressed the need to reintroduce seven or eight tigers, two male and five or six female tigers into the forests.
The WWF report said that, at least eight tigers will be introduced in Cambodian forests, so that after successful breeding the population could rise to 25 over a period of 10 years.
Cambodia had already announced that it has now lost all its tigers in the wild and has requested India for help. The last recorded sighting was in the Mondulkiri Protected Forest in 2007.
Cambodia, a country with a once-thriving tiger population, is now faced with a situation where the tigers are considered to be ‘functionally extinct’ as there is no current record of breeding tigers there.
In Cambodia, about 60 percent of the forests are under protection and conservation systems.
Cambodia lost most of its tigers due to poaching and deforestation. It is now left with vast “tiger-less” bio-reserves, which includes 1,700 sq km of Mondulkiri Protected Forests, 1,500 sq km of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, 2,000 sq km of Seima Protected Forests – a mixed evergreen forest, and 470 sq km of Phnom Nam Lyr Wildlife Sanctuary.