Tiger Conservation in India

News: The Environment Ministry has released the names of the 14 tiger reserves that had received the accreditation of the Global Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS), an accreditation tool agreed upon by tiger range countries.

Tiger Conservation in India:

  • Conservation of Tiger under Different Regimes:
    • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List: Endangered.
    • CITES: Appendix I.
  • Tiger conservation is a symbol of conservation of forests. The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator which is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates (primarily large mammals) in check. Thus, Tiger helps in maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore, Tiger Conservation is not just about saving a beautiful animal.
  • It is about making sure that we live a little longer as the forests are known to provide ecological services like clean air, water, pollination, temperature regulation etc. Further, the significance of Tiger conservation can be reflected by the Status of Leopards, Co-predators and Megaherbivores-2018’ report.
  • According to the report, the overall leopard population in the tiger range landscape of India in 2018 was estimated at 12,852. This is a significant increase from the 2014 figure that was 7,910 in forested habitats of 18 tiger bearing states of the country. The report is a testimony to the fact that conservation of tigers leads to the conservation of the entire ecosystem.
  • Tiger Conservation Projects in India include:
    • Project Tiger 1973: Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) launched in 1973. It provides havens for tigers in the country’s national parks.
    • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA): It is a statutory body under the MoEFCC and was established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
  • India is home to over 70% of the tiger population globally. India is home to 51 tiger reserves spread across 18 states and the last tiger census of 2018 showed a rise in the tiger population.
  • India achieved the target of doubling the tiger population four years ahead of schedule (2022) of the St. Petersburg Declaration on tiger conservation.
  • India’s strategy of tiger conservation attaches topmost importance to involving local communities.

Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS)

  • CA|TS has been agreed upon as an accreditation tool by the global coalition of Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) and has been developed by tiger and protected area experts.
  • Officially launched in 2013, it sets minimum standards for effective management of target species and encourages the assessment of these standards in relevant conservation areas. CA|TS is a set of criteria that allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.
  • The Global Tiger Forum (GTF), an international NGO working on tiger conservation, and World Wildlife Fund India are the two implementing partners of the National Tiger Conservation Authority for CATS assessment in India.

Significance of this status:

  • CATS accreditation is a global recognition of good tiger governance.
  • This recognition means a lot in the context of adaptation to climate change, sustainability of ecosystem services, and safeguarding disruption of zoonotic cycles, through an umbrella species approach.
  • The aspects monitored for accreditation include the importance and status of a reserve, management, community participation, tourism, protection, habitat management, and tiger populations.