International Big Cat Alliance

International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) is a big cat protection alliance proposed by India. This alliance is believed to protect seven big cats namely tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar and cheetah. The main objective of IBCA is to protect existing habitat of big cats, create new habitat or reintroduce big cats into another habitat which has all the requirement to sustain.

Why India takes Initiative

No other country in the world is eligible than India to take such an ambitious initiative for the protection and conservation of all seven big cats throughout the world. India is home of 70% of the world tiger population and five out of seven big cats are found in India. Only puma and jaguar are not exist in India as they are native to North and South America. India has attained tremendous success in protecting and conserving the tiger population. In 1900, India was home of 80,000 tigers which decreased to 40,000 in 1947, the year India became independent from British rule. In a tiger census conducted in 1972, country counted 1827 tigers, the lowest ever tiger count in the history of India. Shocked by the census, Project Tiger Programme started in 1973 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The main aim of the project was to prevent extinction of tiger and increase the natural habitat for sustainability. As a result, 2020 tiger census counted 2967 tigers, a sharp surge in in tiger population.

Big cats plays an important role in maintaining balance of ecosystem. Another major achievement India attained in big cat conservation is reintroduction of cheetahs in India after an extinction of 70 years. Once cheetah was a common animal in Indian subcontinent but officially declared extinction in 1952. Eight African Cheetahs was brought from Namibia and reintroduced in Kuno National Park, Madhya Pradesh. India already has sound number of Asiatic lion, leopard and snoe leopard.

Structure of IBCA

Membership of alliance are open to 97 range countries which contain habitat of big cats. Other interested countries and organizations can also join the alliance. Governance structure of Alliance comprise of a General Assembly of all members and a council of at least seven but not more than 15 member countries elected from General Assembly for a tenure of five years. There will be a secretariat and Secretary General for IBCA to look after smooth functioning of the Alliance. India has pledged a grant of $100 million to run the Alliance for first five years. After first five years, the Alliance should sustain itself from membership fees and contributions from various governments and private sector.

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