Written by Administrator   
Friday, 12 December 2014 04:47




Project Tiger Scheme was launched in 1973 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Government of India.

The project aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted 'tiger reserves', which are representative of various bio-geographical regions falling within the country. An estimate of the tiger population in India, at the turn of the century, placed the figure at 40,000. Subsequently, the first ever all India tiger census was conducted in 1972 which revealed the existence of only 1827 tigers.

Various pressures in the later part of the last century led to the progressive decline of wilderness, resulting in the disturbance of viable tiger habitats. At the IUCN General Assembly meeting in Delhi, in 1969, serious concern was voiced about the threat to several species of wildlife and the shrinkage of wilderness in the country. In 1970, a national ban on tiger hunting was imposed and in 1972 the Wildlife Protection Act came into force.

The project was launched in 1973, and various tiger reserves were created in the country on a 'core-buffer' strategy. The core areas were freed from all sorts of human activities and the buffer areas were subjected to 'conservation oriented land use'. Management plans were drawn up for each tiger reserve, based on the principles outlined below:

• Elimination of all forms of human exploitation and biotic disturbance from the core area and rationalization of activities in the buffer zone.

• Restricting the habitat management only to repair the damages done to the eco-system by human and other interferences, so as to facilitate recovery of the eco-system to its natural state.

• Monitoring the faunal and floral changes over time and carrying out research about wildlife.

The main objective of Project Tiger is to ensure a viable population of tiger in India for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time, areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people.

Initially, the Project started with 9 tiger reserves, covering an area of 16,339 sq.km., with a population of 268 tigers. At present there are 39 tiger reserves(as per April 2011) covering an area of 49112 sq.km.

The W.W.F. has given an assistance of US $ 1 million in the form of equipments, expertise and literature.

Wireless communication system and outstation patrol camps have been developed within the tiger reserves, due to which poaching has declined considerably. Fire protection is effectively done by suitable preventive and control measures voluntary Village relocation has been done in many reserves, especially from the core, area. In Kanha, Bandipur and Ranthambhore, all the villages have been shifted from the core, and after relocation, the villagers have been provided with alternate agricultural lands and other community benefits. This has resulted in the improvement of the carrying capacity of the habitat. Live stock grazing has been controlled to a great extent in the tiger reserves. Various compensatory developmental works have improved the water regime and the ground and field level vegetations, thereby increasing the animal density. Research data pertaining to vegetational changes are also available from many reserves. In general, the 'restorative management' and 'intense protection' under 'Project Tiger' have saved many of our eco-typical areas from destruction. The area around the buffer is now contemplated as a zone of multiple use, to bring compatibility between the reserves and the neighbouring communities.

The effective protection and concerted conservation measures inside the reserves have brought about considerable intangible achievements also, viz. arresting erosion, enrichment of water regime thereby improving the water table and overall habitat resurrection. Labour intensive activities in tiger reserves have helped in poverty alleviation amongst the most backward sections, and their dependence on forests has also reduced. The project has been instrumental in mustering local support for conservation programme in general.

Vision For the Future

The dynamics of forest management and wildlife conservation have been distorted due to the need for income, lack of awareness, lack of land use policy and population pressure. Since the traditional use systems of people are neither static nor benign, these should not be overlooked.

A regional development approach in landscapes having Tiger Reserves is of utmost importance in our country. It should be viewed as a mosaic of different landuse patterns, viz. tiger conservation / preservation, forestry, sustainable use and development, besides socio-economic growth.

Tiger habitats exist in environments of thousands of indigenous communities which depend on them. Therefore we cannot view these protected areas in isolation from the surrounding socio-economic realities and developmental priorities of the Govt. This calls for a cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary approach.

Tigers now need a "preservationist" approach. Regional planning is important around Tiger Reserves to foster ecological connectivity between protected areas through restorative inputs with integrated land use planning. The management plan of a Tiger Reserve, therefore, needs to be integrated in larger regional management plans.




Last Updated on Friday, 12 December 2014 04:57

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