Asian Insider Podcast: India has remarkably saved the tiger but deeper issues remain

Young male tiger, Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India - Success spawns new challenges. PHOTO: NIRMAL GHOSH
Tiger, Ranthhambhore Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, India - wild and free, yet still vulnerable. PHOTO: NIRMAL GHOSH

Synopsis: Each fourth Friday of the month, The Straits Times’ US bureau chief Nirmal Ghosh presents an Asian perspective of the biggest global talking points with expert guests. 

India very recently marked the fifth anniversary of Project Tiger. India has saved the tiger. Bringing a predator like the tiger, back from the brink of extinction, in a country of now over a billion people, is a remarkable feat. 

India now has something like 70-75 per cent of all tigers in the wild. The tiger is functionally extinct in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. There has been a small comeback in Thailand, but its status in Myanmar is unknown and most likely very tenuous.

But species conservation is a complex issue with many moving parts, with both people and wildlife having agency - so it never really ends and old challenges remain and new challenges emerge. 

In this episode, to discuss what worked and what did not - and the consequential challenges that remain - Nirmal Ghosh hosts renowned wildlife conservationist Belinda Wright, founder of the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI); and the publisher and editor of Sanctuary Asia Magazine and Kids for Tigers, Bittu Sahgal. 

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:55 Best practices: What worked for the tiger, what did not work

11:15 On managing wildlife-human conflicts, statistics, and why it’s “not rocket science”

14:40 Is there a strategy for the next 50 years, after 50 years of Project Tiger? Why economists need to be educated on the biosphere

17:10 It was found that among villagers who were attacked by a tiger, almost all had been out in the forest collecting fuelwood

18:32 Do grasslands and wetlands get adequate protection?

28:51 Why India has a convincing asset now that few other countries have; why Asia can show the world how to survive the climate crisis, and the tiger is metaphor

Produced by: Nirmal Ghosh (, Ernest Luis, Hadyu Rahim and Fa’izah Sani

Edited by: Hadyu Rahim and Fa’izah Sani

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