Project Tiger in India [UPSC]

Project Tiger in India [UPSC]

Project Tiger in India

Project Tiger

It is a tiger conservation program.
Launched in – 1973
By – Government of India
Aims –

  • Ensuring a viable population of tigers in their natural habitats.
  • To protect them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the tiger’s distribution in the country.


From 9 tiger reserves since 1973, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 47 at present, spread out in 18 of our tiger range states.
The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy.
The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the
buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a
multiple use area.
Project Tiger is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of
Environment, Forests and Climate Change
providing central assistance to the tiger
States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.

Due to concerted efforts under Project Tiger, at present India has the distinction of having the
maximum number of tigers in the world (1706) as per 2010 assessment, when compared to
other tiger range countries.

Consider the following pairs:
1. Dampa Tiger Reserve: Mizoram
2. Gumti Wildlife Sanctuary: Sikkim
3. Saramati Peak : Nagaland
Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Prelims 2014

Consider the following protected areas:
1. Bandipur
2. Bhitarkanika
3. Manas
4. Sunderbans
Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?
(a) 1 and 2 only (b) 1, 3 and 4 only
(c) 2, 3 and 4 only (d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Prelims 2012

tiger reserve
  • Tiger reserves are areas that are notified for the protection of the tiger and its prey, and are governed by Project Tiger.
  • The State Government shall, on recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation
    Authority, notify an area as a tiger-reserve.
  • A tiger reserve includes –
Core Zone

Established, on the basis of scientific and objective criteria.
Kept as inviolate for the purposes of tiger conservation, without affecting ST or forest
dwellers rights.
Notified by state government.

Buffer Zone

Peripheral area to core area.
Requires lesser degree of habitat protection.
Ensure the integrity of the critical tiger habitat.
Aim – promoting co-existence between wildlife and human activity.
Limits of such areas are determined on the basis of scientific and objective criteria in
consultation with the concerned
Gram Sabha and an Expert Committee.
No alteration in the boundaries of a tiger reserve shall be made except on a
recommendation of the NTCA and the approval of the NBWL (National Board For
No State Government shall de-notify a tiger reserve, except in public interest with the
approval of the NTCA and the approval of the NBWL.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

It is a statutory body of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, with an overarching supervisory / coordination role, performing functions as provided in the
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.


Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger.
Fostering accountability of Center-State in management of Tiger Reserves, by providing
a basis for MoU with States within our federal structure.
Providing for an oversight by Parliament.
Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tiger Reserves.

Consider the following statements –
1. Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
2. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body.
3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Prelims 2014

Power and Functions of NTCA

As prescribed under section 38O of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006 are
as under –
1. To
approve the tiger conservation plan prepared by the State Government.
2. To
evaluate and assess various aspects of sustainable ecology and disallow any
ecologically unsustainable land use (mining, industry and other projects) within the tiger
3. To
lay down normative standards for –
a. Tourism activities
b. Guidelines for project tiger from time to time for tiger conservation in the buffer
and core area of tiger reserves and ensure their due compliance.
4. Provide for
management focus and measures for addressing conflicts of men and wild
Provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan,
estimation of population of tiger and its natural prey species, status of habitats, disease
surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, reports on untoward happenings and such
other management aspects as it may deem fit including future plan conservation;
Approve, co-ordinate research and monitoring on tiger, co-predators, prey habitat,
related ecological and socio-economic parameters and their evaluation;
7. Ensure that the tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area or tiger reserve with
another protected area or tiger reserve are
not diverted for ecologically unsustainable
except in public interest and with the approval of the national board for wild life
and on the advice of the tiger conservation authority;
Facilitate and support the tiger reserve management in the state for biodiversity
conservation initiatives through eco-development and people’s participation as per
approved management plans and to support similar initiatives in adjoining areas
consistent with the central and state laws;
9. Ensure
critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for
better implementation of the tiger conservation plan;
10. Facilitate ongoing
capacity building programme for skill development of officers and
staff of tiger reserves, and

11. Perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this act
with regard to conservation of tigers and their habitat.

The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006
The Act provides for creating –
o National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
o Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime
Control Bureau)

Estimation of Tiger Populations

Process of estimating the number of tigers in a given area is called ‘Tiger census.’
Conducted at – regular intervals.
Other than estimating the number of tigers the method also helps to gather information
on the density of tiger populations and associated prey.
Most commonly used technique – ‘Pugmark Census Technique’.

  • o Imprints of the pugmark of the tiger were recorded and used as a basis for
    identification of individuals.
    o Used largely.

Recent methods – camera trapping and DNA fingerprinting.

  • o Camera trapping – photographs of individual tigers are differentiated on the
    basis of the stripes on the body.
    o DNA fingerprinting – latest technique – tigers are identified from their scats.
Phases of tiger estimation procedure

Phase 1 – Field data collected at the beat-level (i.e. the primary patrolling unit) by
trained personnel using a standardized protocol.
Phase 2 – Analysis of habitat status of tiger forests using satellite data.
Phase 3 – Identification of tiger on basis of their photographs. (Camera trapping)
Phase 4 – used statistically sound procedures to estimate numbers of both tigers and
their prey.

Tiger task force 

On the basis of the recommendations of National Board for Wild Life, a Task Force was
set up to look into the problems of tiger conservation in the country.
Setup by – Ministry of Environment and Forests (Project Tiger)

Terms of reference of task force

1. Suggest measures to strengthen tiger conservation in the country.
2. Suggest measures to incentivise the local community in conservation of tigers.
3. Suggest measures to incentivise local forest staff posted in sanctuaries/national
4. Parks and ensure an effective HR plan for tiger conservation/wildlife managers.
5. Suggest measures to improve the methodology of tiger counting and forecasting.

6. Suggest methods of transparent professional audit of wildlife parks and placing data on
tiger conservation in the public domain.
7. Suggest a new wildlife management paradigm that shares concerns of conservation with
the public at large.

International Cooperation 

India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling transboundary illegal
trade in wildlife
India has signed a protocol on tiger conservation with China.
A sub-group on tiger/leopard conservation has been constituted for cooperation with
Russian Federation.
A Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries has been created for addressing
international issues related to tiger conservation.
India is a party to CITES. CITES’s landmark decision states that ‘tigers should not be bred
for trade in their parts and derivatives’.

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