Wednesday, March 3, 1999 Published at 14:24 GMT
World: South Asia
Tiger conference call
The extent of the tiger's habitat has shrunk dramatically
By South Asia Correspondent Mike Wooldridge
The start of the three-day Milennium Tiger Conference in the Indian capital Delhi, has heard calls for increased international efforts to save the tiger from extinction.
India is home to more than half the world's remaining population of tigers, but already, three of the eight sub-species of tigers have become extinct.
But, he said, it was now being hampered by poaching and illegal trading in tiger parts.
Anti-poaching operations were being stepped up, he said, but there was a need for new strategies to save the tiger and this included more international cooperation.
The vice president savaged imagery associated with the killing of tigers for sport.
Mr Prabhu said what was urgently required on the eve of the millennium was a new mental effort to conserve the tiger which was a symbol of global biodiversity.
He said children all over the world had grown up around images and stories about tigers.
India has recently increased the number of its tiger reserves from 23 to 25, but much of the poaching has been taking place outside the reserves.
Now new approaches are being drawn up for the authorities to work more closely with local people in trying to save the tiger.