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Project Tiger: Short Note, Essay, Project Tiger UPSC Notes

By Balaji

Updated on: May 28th, 2023

Project Tiger is a famous wildlife conservation program launched in April 1973. It is aimed at conserving the Bengal Tiger population in their natural habitats. Nearly 75% of the wild tigers in the world are now found in India. According to a prior estimate based on the data gathered, there may have been as many as 50,000 tigers living in India alone at the start of the 20th century.

Project Tiger aimed to save the tigers by doing everything possible to save and protect them. By the 1960s, India’s wildlife had reached an all-time low due to ongoing hunting, poaching, and habitat loss. The wildlife animals were not treated well, so came the need for a tiger-protecting force from the government to solve this issue and regain the tiger population. Project Tiger is an essential conservation effort and is a crucial topic of the UPSC GS 2. Many questions have been asked regarding the developments and updates about Tiger Project in India.

Project Tiger

Project Tiger is a centrally sponsored scheme that supports the tiger states in conserving the tiger species in recognized tiger reserves. On April 1, 1973, the Indian government introduced Project Tiger to encourage tiger conservation. The project is the largest species conservation program of its kind. This was created using Core-Buffer Strategy:

  • The buffer or periphery regions are a mixture of forest and non-forest land that is administered as a multiple-use area. It provides habitat supplements to wild animals and site-specific development to surrounding villages so they don’t impact the core areas.
  • The core portions have the legal status of a national park or a wildlife century for the conservation of tigers.

History of Tiger Conservation

Around 1970, a team of scientists and conservationists put tension on the Indian government concerning the constant decline in the tiger population. As a result, the wildlife protection act was created in 1972, legally ending all hunting in India and establishing legal protection for targeted species.

  • Later, in 1973 Project Tiger was started, with Dr Kailash Sankhala serving as its first director.
  • The first tiger reserve in India was the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand.
  • Eight additional tiger reserves were created, totaling over 9115 square kilometers of forest area. This area has increased to 71,000 square kilometers, a significant improvement from its early days but still not enough forest cover for a developing nation like India with a stunning and extensive natural heritage.
  • In India, there are currently 53 tiger reserves.

Objectives of Project Tiger in India

Project Tiger in India has specific objectives aimed at conserving and protecting the tiger population. These objectives include preserving tiger habitats, combating poaching and illegal trade, involving local communities, and conducting research and monitoring. Through these efforts, Project Tiger strives to ensure the long-term survival and well-being of tigers in India. The following are the primary objectives of Project Tiger in India.

  • Conservation of Tiger Population: The foremost objective of Project Tiger is to conserve and protect the population of tigers in India. It aims to ensure the survival and growth of the tiger species by safeguarding their natural habitats and implementing effective conservation measures.
  • Preservation of Tiger Habitats: Project Tiger focuses on preserving the crucial habitats that support tiger populations. It aims to maintain and enhance these habitats to provide a conducive environment for tigers to thrive and breed.
  • Prevention of Poaching and Illegal Trade: Another objective is to combat poaching and the illegal trade of tiger parts. Project Tiger works towards strengthening anti-poaching efforts, improving law enforcement, and raising awareness to curb poaching activities and the demand for tiger products.
  • Ecosystem Conservation: Project Tiger recognizes the importance of tiger conservation in maintaining the ecological balance of ecosystems. By conserving tigers and their habitats, it helps protect the biodiversity and integrity of the natural environment.
  • Research and Monitoring: Project Tiger focuses on conducting research, monitoring, and scientific studies related to tiger populations and their habitats. This helps in gaining a better understanding of tiger behaviour, ecology, and conservation requirements, leading to informed decision-making.

Tiger Task Force

In 2005, Project Tiger in India recognized the need for increased surveillance and protection due to widespread poaching and powerful poaching networks. The disappearance of tigers in Sariska Tiger Reserve led to the establishment of the Tiger Task Force by Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. The Task Force aimed to improve tiger conservation by addressing issues, combating poaching, monitoring tiger populations, and educating local communities. To achieve this, the Task Force set forth the following benchmarks for all national tiger reserves under Project Tiger:

  • Examination of tiger conservation issues and recommendation of solutions: The Tiger Task Force was tasked with conducting a thorough analysis of various issues pertaining to tiger conservation and proposing effective solutions to address them.
  • Enhancement of techniques to combat tiger poaching and illegal activities in wildlife reserves: To tackle the pressing issue of tiger hunting and other unlawful activities, the Task Force aimed to improve existing techniques and develop new strategies to prevent such incidents within wildlife reserves.
  • Strengthening mechanisms for tiger population monitoring and estimation: Accurate accounting and forecasting of tiger population numbers were deemed crucial. The Task Force aimed to enhance the existing mechanisms for tiger population monitoring, ensuring better data collection and prediction capabilities.
  • Education of local communities residing in reserves about tiger conservation and environmental protection: Recognizing the significance of local engagement, the Task Force emphasized educating indigenous inhabitants living in tiger reserves about the importance of tiger conservation and the need for environmental protection.

Challenges in the Conservation of Tigers

Project Tiger, an important initiative in India, faces various challenges in the conservation of tigers. The primary goal of Project Tiger is to protect and preserve the tiger population by addressing these challenges. Check the challenges faced in the conservation of tigers under Project Tiger:

  • Ecosystem Fragmentation: One of the key challenges is the fragmentation of tiger habitats, which disrupts their natural movement and social dynamics. Project Tiger focuses on providing tiger-exclusive territories to support their social structures and ensure their long-term survival.
  • Poaching and hunting: Tigers face the constant threat of poaching and hunting for their valuable body parts, driven by illegal wildlife trade. Project Tiger aims to safeguard tigers by implementing stringent anti-poaching measures, strengthening law enforcement, and raising awareness about the consequences of such activities.
  • Tiger-human interface: Another challenge is the conflict that arises when tigers come into contact with human settlements. Project Tiger works towards resolving this interface by implementing strategies to minimize human-tiger conflicts and ensure the safety of both humans and tigers.
  • Rehabilitation of corridors and public support: To promote genetic diversity and enable tiger movement, Project Tiger focuses on rehabilitating wildlife corridors. Additionally, winning public support is crucial for the success of tiger conservation efforts, and Project Tiger strives to engage local communities and educate them about the significance of conserving tigers.
  • Environmentally sustainable solutions: Project Tiger aims to provide environmentally sustainable solutions to the local communities residing in tiger habitats. This includes promoting alternative livelihood options, implementing eco-tourism initiatives, and fostering a sense of responsibility towards the protection of tigers and their habitats.

Project Tiger in India: Tiger Census

The procedure for calculating the population of tigers in a selected area is called tiger census. It takes place at regular intervals of time to understand how the tiger populations have improved and their population trends.

  • The readily used technique is referred to as the pugmarks census technique. Through this technique, the pugmark imprints of the tiger are taken into consideration, and the tigers are identified based on it.
  • The latest techniques include camera trapping and DNA fingerprinting. In the process of camera trapping, the photographers capture the different tigers, which are then identified based on the patterns of stripes on their bodies.
  • The advanced technique of DNA fingerprinting helps in the identification of tigers using their faecal matter.
  • M-STriPES (Monitoring system for tigers-intensive protection and ecological status) stripes is an advanced application-based monitoring approach launched in 2010.

Short Note on Project Tiger

Project Tiger is a significant initiative in India aimed at protecting and conserving the population of tigers. It was launched in 1973 with the objective of preserving the natural habitats of tigers and increasing their numbers. Under this project, specific tiger reserves were established across the country to provide a safe environment for the endangered species. The project focuses on habitat conservation, anti-poaching measures, and community participation in tiger conservation efforts. Project Tiger has played a crucial role in reviving the tiger population in India and has become a successful model for wildlife conservation worldwide.

The main goal of Project Tiger is to ensure the survival and growth of the tiger population by preserving their natural habitats and protecting them from threats such as poaching and habitat destruction. The project has been successful in increasing the number of tigers and creating awareness about the importance of tiger conservation among local communities. Through conservation efforts and scientific monitoring, Project Tiger has made significant contributions to tiger conservation in India, emphasizing the need for sustainable practices to protect our wildlife heritage.

Project Tiger UPSC

Project Tiger is a topic of utmost importance in the UPSC Exam. It holds significance due to its impact on wildlife conservation and environmental protection in India. Understanding Project Tiger is crucial for aspirants aiming to excel in the exam.

Project Tiger comes under the Environment and Ecology section of the General Studies syllabus. To prepare effectively for this topic, candidates should start by gaining a comprehensive understanding of the history, objectives, and challenges of Project Tiger.

Project Tiger UPSC Question

To excel in the UPSC exam, it is vital to understand Project Tiger as it is highly important. Experts have created practice questions based on UPSC previous year’s question paper to assist candidates in their preparation. By practicing these questions, candidates can improve their preparation level.

Question: Which of the following tiger reserves in India was the first to be established under Project Tiger? (A) Corbett Tiger Reserve, (B) Bandipur Tiger Reserve, (C) Kanha Tiger Reserve, (D) Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Answer: (A) Corbett Tiger Reserve

Question: Who is considered the “Father of Project Tiger” in India? (A) M. Krishnan, (B) Kailash Sankhala, (C) Valmik Thapar, (D) Fateh Singh Rathore

Answer: (B) Kailash Sankhala

Question: Which of the following states in India has the highest number of tiger reserves under Project Tiger? (A) Madhya Pradesh, (B) Karnataka, (C) Tamil Nadu, (D) Rajasthan

Answer: (A) Madhya Pradesh

For UPSC Mains

Question: Discuss the challenges faced by Project Tiger in achieving its conservation objectives. Suggest measures to overcome these challenges and ensure the long-term survival of tigers in India.

Question: Critically analyze the effectiveness of Project Tiger in conserving the tiger population in India. Discuss the challenges faced and suggest measures for improving its implementation.

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