Project Tiger: Features, Short Notes on Tiger Project in India

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 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.

Table of content

  • 1. What is Project Tiger? (more)
  • 2. History of Tiger Conservation (more)
  • 3. Objectives of Project Tiger in India (more)
  • 4. Tiger Task Force (more)
  • 5. Challenges in the Conservation of Tigers (more)
  • 6. Project Tiger in India: Tiger Census (more)
  • 7. Project Tiger UPSC (more)
  • 8. Project Tiger UPSC Question (more)

What is 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 programme 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, totalling over 9115 square kilometres of forest area. This area has increased to 71,000 square kilometres, 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.

When was Project Tiger Started?

Objectives of Project Tiger in India

The important objectives of Project Tiger are listed below:

  • To make sure that anything limiting the habitats for tigers is avoided.
  • Any harm done to these habitats should be rectified to maintain the ecosystem’s equilibrium.
  • Continue to have a healthy Tiger population.

Tiger Task Force

A need for increased surveillance and an additional layer of protection was added in the year 2005. This resulted from widespread poaching and the development of powerful poaching networks by traffickers within India. The sudden disappearance of the tiger population in the famously endangered Sariska Tiger reserve in Rajasthan came to the attention of media and local conservationists. As a result, Indian Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh established the Tiger Task Force to strengthen the conservation of the country’s national animals. The Tiger Task Force established the following criteria as the benchmark for all national tiger reserves:

  • Examine the numerous issues relating to tigers conservation and make recommendations for solutions.
  • Improving techniques for stopping the hunting of tigers and unlawful behaviour in wildlife reserves.
  • Improve the mechanism for accounting and predicting the tiger population.
  • Educating the indigenous locals who live in the reserves regarding tiger conservation and environmental protection.

Challenges in the Conservation of Tigers

The following are challenges faced in the conservation of tigers in our country:

  • Ecosystem fragmentation
  • Providing tiger-exclusive territory to support its social dynamics
  • Safeguarding tigers against poaching and hunting
  • Resolving the tiger-human interface
  • Rehabilitating corridors and winning the public‘s support
  • Offering environmentally sustainable solutions to the locals.

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.

Project Tiger UPSC

The UPSC GS II syllabus for the UPSC Exam includes a very important section on Project Tiger. To be informed of all the Project Tiger developments, staying up-to-date on current affairs, the news, and the UPSC study material offered is critical. For practice, you can also download the UPSC Question Papers.

Project Tiger UPSC Question

Question: Consider the following protected areas:

  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1, 3 and 4 only
  3. 2, 3 and 4 only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Answer: Option B

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