India Commemorates The 50th Anniversary Of Project Tiger

India Commemorates The 50th Anniversary Of Project Tiger

April 12, 2023 - 5:24 am

Tiger Census For 2022 Finds A India’s Tiger Rise In Count At 3,167

India commemorated the 50th anniversary of "Project Tiger" by marking five decades of tiger protection. According to the All India Tiger Estimate (AITE) 2021–2022, India's tiger population is currently at 3,167 in 2022, which represents a substantial rise when compared to the census results from the preceding years, which were 1,411 in 2006, 1,706 in 2010, 2,226 in 2014, and 2,967 in 2018. The tiger population in India was 3167 in 2022, according to Project Tiger. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), state forest departments, and the Wildlife Institute of India released the once-every-four-year survey in Mysuru to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger in India. To celebrate the occasion, a commemorative coin was also released. 

What is the “Project Tiger”?

To increase the population of the large cat, then-prime minister Indira Gandhi launched Project Tiger on April 1, 1973. The tiger was also listed as an endangered species that year by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. So, the initiative was started with the intention of providing the animal with refuge and protection, preserving its natural environment, and preventing its extinction. The concept envisioned the establishment of tiger reserves, which would be places where tiger populations might flourish and progressively disperse to neighbouring forests, resulting in the spread of the species. Better monitoring systems, trap cameras, and satellite imaging were added to tiger management as the project evolved and additional technology breakthroughs were made to support tiger conservation. Now, there are 53 tiger reserves, totaling more than 75,000 square kilometres, or around 2.4% of India's total land area. It originally consisted of nine tiger reserves. 

The Evolution of India's Tiger Population

India had an estimated 40,000 tigers when it gained independence from Britain in 1947. This decreased over the next decades, reaching a record low of 1,411 four years later and roughly 3,700 in 2002. According to the All-India Tiger Estimate Figures published in 2019 there were 2,967 tigers in India in 2018, or 7 out of every 10 big cats living in the wild worldwide. In comparison to 2014, when there were 2,226 tigers in the nation, this figure represents a 33% rise. Even so, it represented an improvement above the 2010 (1,706) and 2006 figures (1,411). India had more than doubled its tiger population in the previous 12 years, an accomplishment that one expert credited to "sovereign financing and field workers." There are currently 51 tiger reserves, up from 28 in 2006. In 2014, Madhya Pradesh had the most, with 526 tigers (308), followed by Karnataka with 524 (406) and Uttarakhand with 442 (340). 

Why was Tiger’s Population Declined?

As human populations grew rapidly in the 1940s, tiger numbers started to drop precipitously. According to the WWF, infrastructure, agricultural development, and deforestation have divided tiger habitats, which is especially harmful considering that tigers are solitary animals that need huge territories to wander and hunt. Tigers now only inhabit 7% of the area they once did. Due to the shrinking habitat, there have been more occurrences of human-tiger conflict in recent years, including tigers attacking people and breaking into settlements in search of food. The reduction in tiger populations was further accelerated by unchecked poaching in the 1980s. In addition to being hunted for sport, status, and food, tigers were also often used in traditional Chinese medicine thanks to their bones and other parts. Although tiger hunting was formally outlawed in India in 1972, it is still a serious concern today, with illegal poaching being held responsible for the total extinction of tigers within an Indian reserve in 2005. 

Other Cats in India

Strong conservation efforts in India have led to a 29% increase in the number of lions in Gujarat (674 in 2020 compared to 523 in 2015). There has been an approximately 63% growth in the leopard population around the globe (from 7,910 in 2014 to 12,852 in 2018). In 2022, the nation successfully completed the first-ever wild-to-wild intercontinental translocation of a big cat (the cheetah) and righted the historical wrong of the cheetah's extinction. India has also stopped all rhinoceros with one horn from being poached in Assam.

Challenges Ahead In Big Cat populations

The increase in big cat populations has created many difficulties. The relationship between humans and tigers is more delicate than ever. Corridor linkages must continue to work. Due to the constant changes in tiger landscapes, it is necessary to consider a bigger "zone of influence" with an emphasis on integration on a variety of levels, including spatial, sectoral, intra-sectoral, and vertical, as well as resource sharing. Actions for stakeholder departments to implement, modify, or minimise their field actions in accordance with regulations must be included in the district planning process. To implement the envisioned approach, we require a master plan at the landscape size that will be overseen by the current administrative infrastructure and funded by ongoing projects. India is developing a new "tiger vision." The tiger in the wild is more than just a photographer's dream. It serves as a symbol of burgeoning economies, ecosystem services, climatic adaptation, and pandemic protection. Village and tribal populations need to be in sync with government objectives and initiatives, and the already strict anti-poaching laws need to be better applied. An excellent method to prepare for the expansion of tigers in the future is to slowly add territory close to existing tiger reserves. To reach the objectives of tiger conservation in India, public awareness and education are also crucial, as they were before. If we are to move forward with our objectives of tiger conservation, it is equally crucial that we reestablish our old, traditional relationships with tigers in our culture and myths with the help of newer media.

Questions and Answers Questions and Answers

Question : What is Project Tiger and when was it launched?
Answers : Project Tiger was launched on April 1, 1973, by then-prime minister Indira Gandhi with the aim of increasing the population of tigers in India and providing them with refuge and protection.
Question : How has India's tiger population changed over the years?
Answers : India's tiger population has shown a substantial increase over the years. According to the All India Tiger Estimate (AITE) 2021-2022, the tiger population was 1,411 in 2006, 1,706 in 2010, 2,226 in 2014, and 2,967 in 2018, and it reached 3,167 in 2022.
Question : How did Project Tiger contribute to the increase in tiger population in India?
Answers : Project Tiger established tiger reserves in India, which provided a safe haven for tigers and helped in their conservation. The project also incorporated better monitoring systems, trap cameras, and satellite imaging, which aided in the management and protection of tigers.
Question : What were the main reasons for the decline of tiger population in India?
Answers : The main reasons for the decline of tiger population in India were habitat loss due to infrastructure development, agricultural expansion, and deforestation, as well as poaching for sport, status, and traditional Chinese medicine.
Question : How has the population of other big cats in India changed?
Answers : Conservation efforts in India have led to an increase in the population of lions in Gujarat and leopards globally. India also successfully completed the first-ever intercontinental translocation of cheetahs in 2022.
Question : What are the challenges in managing the increasing big cat populations in India?
Answers : Challenges in managing the increasing big cat populations in India include human-wildlife conflict, maintaining corridor linkages, integrating spatial, sectoral, and resource-sharing aspects, and implementing effective regulations and field actions.
Question : How many tiger reserves are there in India currently?
Answers : Currently, there are 53 tiger reserves in India, covering more than 75,000 square kilometers, or around 2.4% of India's total land area.
Question : When was tiger hunting formally outlawed in India?
Answers : Tiger hunting was formally outlawed in India in 1972.
Question : What was the significance of the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger?
Answers : The 50th anniversary of Project Tiger marked five decades of tiger protection and highlighted the success of conservation efforts in increasing the tiger population in India.
Question : How did India commemorate the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger?
Answers : India commemorated the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger by releasing the All India Tiger Estimate (AITE) 2021-2022, which revealed the current tiger population in India, and by releasing a commemorative coin.