New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Stressing on the need to focus more on tiger conservation, Harsh Vardhan, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, on Saturday said that threats to the tigers remain ever persistent. Also Read - New Delhi, Goa and Mumbai Top Booked Destinations by Indians During Valentine’s Week

Addressing a gathering of tiger conservationists, NGOs and students on the occasion of “Global Tiger Day”, Harsh Vardhan pointed out that the target of doubling the number of tigers by 2022 in St. Petersburg Declaration was a moderate target, “but even to achieve this moderate target, the nations have to be repeatedly reminded to conserve tigers”. Also Read - Mughal Gardens to Open For Public From THIS Date, Entry Through Online Booking Only | Check Timing, Other Details

“Tiger-bearing forests play a mitigative role in combating climate change. Tiger is a symbol of healthy environment and there can be no let-up in conservation efforts, as threats to the tigers remain ever persistent,” the minister said. Also Read - Costliest 'Ghagra'? Drugs Worth Rs 1.7 Crore Hidden in Lehengas That Were Being Sent to Australia

He added that tiger conservation should be carried out every moment of the day and not celebrated merely as a one-day event.

At present, India holds over 70 per cent of the world’s free ranging tiger population and the global free ranging or the wild tigers are estimated to be around 3,900.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has pointed out that the year 2016 had been catastrophic for the tigers in India as poaching reached an all-time high.

At least 129 tigers and 419 leopards died in 2016 as compared to 91 tigers and 397 leopards in 2015, as per the information IANS managed to piece together from various independent sources.

Of these, at least 50 tigers and 127 leopards were poached, a record in the last 10 years.

“If each individual undertakes one good, environment-friendly deed every day, we would have performed 125 crore good, environment-friendly deeds,” Harsh Vardhan said.

On the occasion, the minister released a protocol for conducting security and audit of tiger reserves. He also released a compact disk (CD) on glimpses of tiger conservation through Parliament questions.

Harsh Vardhan also presented the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) accreditation award to the Lansdowne Forest Division of Uttarakhand, which met the managerial standards for effective conservation of tigers.

CA|TS has been developed by the WWF, working with protected area agencies in tiger range countries. It is a voluntary scheme for any organisation involved in tiger conservation.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.