India will mark 50 years of Project Tiger on April 1, 2023.
About Project Tiger:
Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 by the Government of India during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's tenure.
The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the distribution of tigers in the country.
The project's task force visualized these tiger reserves as breeding nuclei, from which surplus animals would migrate to adjacent forests.
Funds and commitment were mastered to support the intensive program of habitat protection and rehabilitation under the project.
It is a Centrally sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change
The project is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):
The National Tiger Conservation Authority was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force.
Administration of the tiger reserves will be in accordance with guidelines of NTCA.
Tiger reserves in India are administered by field directors as mandated by NTCA.
No alteration in the boundaries of a tiger reserve shall be made except on a recommendation of the NTCA and the approval of the National Board for Wild Life.
No State Government shall de-notify a tiger reserve, except in public interest with the approval of the NTCA and the approval of the National Board for Wild Life.
Facts related to Tigers in India:
There are 54 tiger reserves in India that are governed by Project Tiger.
India is home to 80 percent of tigers in the world.
In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers which increased to 1,706 in 2010, 2,226 in 2014 and 2967 in 2018.
Largest Tiger Reserve in India– Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana)
Smallest Tiger Reserve in India– Bor Tiger Reserve (Maharashtra)
Every 4 years the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) conducts a tiger census across India.
The Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), also called the Indian tiger or the Royal Bengal tiger is native to the Indian subcontinent.
They are currently found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
It is listed as Endangered in Nepal, India, and Bhutan, While Bangladesh and China list it as Critically Endangered.
The species found are namely,
White Tiger, Bengal Tiger and Indochinese Tiger.
Need for Tiger Conservation:
Barometers of Ecological health: Tigers are indicators of the ecological wellness of planet earth. Being the dominant predators of the ecosystem, they ensure that the numbers of herbivore like deer are kept balanced
Umbrella species :Tiger is an umbrella species whose conservation eventually leads to the conservation of many other species such as the ungulates, pollinators and other small
Carbon storage value: Poaching or killing of large bodied vertebrates such as tigers results in increase of herbivore population, which in turn results in forests getting decimated
Decline in the tiger population: There is a tremendous decline in the tiger population as compared to the past 100 years and to prevent the deteriorating condition of tigers, it’s important to conserve them.
Other Tiger Conservation Measures:
NATIONAL TIGER CONSERVATION AUTHORITY: It was established in 2005, following the recommendations of the Tiger Task. It was given statutory status by the 2006 amendment of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it.
TIGER RELOCATION PROJECTS: The tiger relocation project was initiated in 2018 wherein two big cats, a male (Mahavir) from Kanha Tiger Reserve and a female (Sundari) from Bandhavgarh from Madhya Pradesh were relocated to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha, to shore up the tiger population
TIGER SPECIAL PROTECTION FORCE: It will be effective in checking illegal human intrusion into the reserve through villages located on its fringes and serve as a second layer of protection for tigers
GLOBAL TIGER FORUM: It is an Inter-Governmental international body working exclusively for the conservation of Tigers. Established in 1994, the Global Tiger Forum (GTF) has its headquarters in New Delhi
GLOBAL TIGER INITIATIVE: Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) was launched in 2008 as a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society, conservation, and scientific communities, and the private sector, with the aim of working together to save wild tigers
MSTrIPES: MSTrIPES program uses Global Positioning System (GPS), General Packet Radio Services (GPRS), and remote sensing, to collect information from the field, create a database using modern Information Technology (IT) based tools, analyses the information using GIS and statistical tools to provide inferences that allow tiger reserve managers to better manage their wildlife resources.