India celebrates 50 years of Project Tiger

India celebrates 50 years of Project Tiger

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

About Project Tiger:

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.
Type of SchemeCentrally Sponsored Scheme under MoEFCC
Who implements?  National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
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 ViceChairperson)+ 3 MPs, Secretary, MoEFCC
States covered18 States in India with 54 Tiger Reserves (Guru Ghasidas National Park and the Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary in Chhattisgarh being the latest)
Role of NTCASupervisory and coordination role and approval of the Tiger Conservation Plan prepared by the State Governments.

Key Achievements:
 The 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.
 9 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.
 As hunting was banned to save tigers, the population of many other animals started increasing.
 With a current population of about 3,000 tigers, India is home to more than 70% of the global tiger population.
 TX2 (goal of doubling wild tiger population by 2022) – India achieved this target 4 year in advance as part of St. Petersburg Declaration on Tiger Conservation.

Challenges faced:
 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
 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.

Way Forward
 The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem.
 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.

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