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India Announces $13 Million in Funding to Protect Tigers

India's government plans to spend nearly $13 million to create a special force to protect the endangered tiger population.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced to parliament Friday that the money will be used to raise, arm and deploy a special tiger protection force.

A recent survey found India's tiger population has declined to just over 1,400 from 3,600 in 2002. Chidambaram said the number should ring an alarm bell and that the tiger is under grave threat.

India's government last month pledged to spend $150 million to create new tiger reserves and shift villages and tribal communities out of tiger habitats.

Officials have also opened a national wildlife crime bureau to counter the poaching of tigers and other endangered animals.

Tiger hunting is illegal worldwide. Poachers often sell tiger skins and other body parts to China for use in traditional medicine.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.