India has a "successful track record of protecting its tigers", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday at an international tiger conference here, as India announced an increase in its tiger population - at 2, 500 tigers in the wild - from 2, 226 in 2014.
Modi, addressing the inaugural function of the three - day 'Third Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation', said: "India has a successful track record of protecting its tigers, and by doing so the entire ecosystem gets protected. "
Earlier, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that "India has 2, 500 tigers as of today, up from 2, 226 in 2014. "
Modi, in his address, said: "Benefits from tiger conservation are enormous, but intangible. We cannot quantify this in economic terms. "
"Forests are inseparable from wild animals. Both are mutually complementary. Destruction of one leads to destruction of the other. "
He also stressed on the challenges faced in tiger conservation from poaching.
"Conservation of tiger is not a choice, it is an imperative. We have been facing a lot of challenges from poaching in India. Tiger conservation is a collective responsibility of government of India and states. I also compliment state governments for their efforts, " said Modi.
"I believe tiger conservation or conservation of nature is not a drag on development. Both can happen in mutually complementary manner. As a country having more than 70 percent of global tiger population, India is committed to complement initiatives of other Tiger Range Countries, " he added.
More than 700 conservation experts, ministers and senior officials from 15 Tiger Range countries are gathered here for the conference.