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India celebrates 50 successful years of “Project Tiger”

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

 Source: The Print

 Context: The Indian government will officially mark the 50th year of ‘Project Tiger’ on 9 April with a three-day event in Mysuru, Karnataka.

  

Background:

Project Tiger-an initiative to save tigers, was first initiated in the year April 1, 1973 in Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand.

 

 

About Project Tiger:

FeatureDescription
Objective·        To ensure the maintenance of a viable population of tigers in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values.

·        To preserve, for all times, areas of biological importance as a national heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.

TypeCentrally Sponsered Scheme under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC)
Implementing AuthorityNational Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) (est. 2005; HQ: New Delhi)
About NTCANTCA was established following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force). It is a statutory body under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, of 1972.
Members of NTCAUnion Minister of the MoEFCC (as Chairperson)+ the Minister of State in the MoEFCC (as Vice-Chairperson)+ 3 MPs, Secretary, MoEFCC
Functions of NTCASupervisory and coordination role and approval of the Tiger Conservation Plan prepared by the State Governments.
States Covered18 States in India with 54 Tiger Reserves  (Guru Ghasidas National Park and the Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhattisgarh being the latest)

  

About Tigers:

 

 

Achievements of Project Tiger

AchievementDescription
Increased populationThe number of tigers in India has increased from 1827 (the 1970s) to around 2967, with a 30% rise in the population in the last eight years.
Increased coverage9 tiger reserves covering 18,278 sq km in 9 states (the 1970s) to currently, 54 tiger reserves spread over more than 75,000 sq km in 18 tiger range states.
TX2 (goal of doubling wild tiger population by 2022)India met its goal in 2018 (four years ahead of its target) (St. Petersburg Declaration on tiger conservation)
Protection of other animalsAs hunting was banned to save tigers, the population of many other animals started increasing.
Global tiger populationWith a current population of about 3,000 tigers, India is home to more than 70% of the global tiger population.

 

Challenges faced by project tiger:

  • Poaching: Project Tiger’s efforts were mainly hampered by poaching, also by the debacles and irregularities in Sariska and Namdapha.
    • As per NTCA, 1059 tiger deaths were in the last 10 years, most in Madhya Pradesh
  • Conflict with FRA, 2006: The Forest Rights Act passed by the Indian government in 2006 recognizes the rights of some forest-dwelling communities in forest areas.
  • Lack of adequate protection in the outside tiger reserve.
    • According to a report, nearly 29 per cent of tigers lives outside of the core zone
  • Man-Animal Conflicts Wildlife habitats are shrinking leading to more instances of human-animal conflict.
    • From 2001 to 2016, 1,065 cases of human-tiger conflict were recorded including injuries and even fatalities on both sides.

 

 

Conclusion

The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem.  However, there is a need for further community involvement through a tiger reserve that is not built with fences and armed patrol guards, but around a cultural model of conservation i.e. including local tribes like Idu Mishmi in Arunachal Pradesh, who consider Tigers as their elder brother and sacred.

 

To know about recent measures taken by India, Technological measures, and International efforts for tiger conservation: Click here

 

Insta links

Tiger density in India

 

Mains Link

Evaluate the various measures initiated towards tiger conservation and protection in India which have resulted in a steady increase in the population of tigers. What are the key learnings from these measures toward the conservation efforts of other species? (15M)

 

Prelims Link

Among the following Tiger Reserves, which one has the largest area under “Critical Tiger Habitat”?

(a) Corbett

(b) Ranthambore

(c) Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam

(d) Sunderbans

 

Answer: C