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50 Years of Project Tiger

Published: 6th Apr, 2023

Context

India marked 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.
  • Aim:
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • While it initially covered nine Tiger Reserves (Manas, Palamau, Simlipal, Corbett, Ranthambhore, Kanha, Melghat, Bandipur and Sundarban) spread over 18,278 sq km, India now has 54 such reserves covering more than 75,000 sq km (approximately 2.4% of the country’s geographical area).

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):

  • NTCA 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– Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary (Uttar Pradesh), 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.
  • Protection status:
    • 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.

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.

Other important conservation Projects for Wildlife in India

  • Project Elephant: Project Elephant was launched in 1992 and is a centrally sponsored scheme. The project aims at assisting the management and protection of elephants in the States which have free-ranging populations of wild elephants. 
  • Project Snow Leopard: Project Snow Leopard launched in 2009, aims to promote inclusivity and participatory approach for the conservation of the species. The species of Snow Leopard inhabits the Himalayan landscape as well as states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Project Hangul: In the 1970s, the Jammu and Kashmir Government in association with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) designed a project for the protection and conservation of the Kashmir Red Stag and its habitat. This project came to be known as Project Hangul.
  • Project Crocodile: Project Crocodile was introduced in 1975. The primary focus was on breeding and rearing in captivity.
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