8 April: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a global alliance to protect seven big cat species from poaching and illegal trade. The alliance, called Big Cats: The Global Coalition for Conservation, aims to bring together countries, organizations, and experts to work on conservation efforts for tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, and cougars.
The alliance was announced at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China. Modi said that India has successfully increased its tiger population by 33% in the last seven years, and is committed to sharing its best practices and technologies with other countries.
“Big cats are among the most majestic and charismatic creatures on our planet. They are also among the most endangered. Poaching, habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and climate change are some of the major threats facing these magnificent animals. We need to act urgently and collectively to save them from extinction,” Modi said.
The alliance will focus on four key areas: enhancing law enforcement and anti-poaching efforts, reducing demand for illegal wildlife products, promoting sustainable livelihoods and coexistence with local communities, and supporting scientific research and monitoring. The alliance will also seek to raise awareness and mobilize resources for big cat conservation.
The alliance has received support from several countries, including Russia, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States. It has also partnered with international organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Modi said that the alliance is a testament to India’s leadership and commitment to biodiversity conservation. He expressed hope that the alliance will inspire more countries to join hands and protect the big cats and their habitats for future generations.