The Indian Express reported recently that Project Tiger, which was launched in 1973 to conserve the wild tiger population in India, completes fifty years in 2023. This is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, providing funding support conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves.
By Dr Arpita Anant
Over these years, the number of tiger reserves in India has increased from 9 to 51, covering a geographical area of 2.23 per cent. India has emerged as the home to nearly 70 per cent of the world tiger population of 4500, and a leader in tiger conservation.
At the international level, the aim to double tiger numbers (Tx2) in every country was adopted at the 2010 Summit facilitated by the Global Tiger Initiative of the World Bank in St. Petersburg Russia. It codified a Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP). A follow up was done in September 2022 at which it emerged that India, along with Nepal, was one of the few countries to have achieved the target.
Tiger governance in India is organized in such a manner that both the Centre and the State governments share the responsibilities of conservation and is thereby a role-model. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was set up as a statutory body under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and it oversees the implementation of Project Tiger.
Countries such as India that have invested in tiger governance have been able to achieve significant successes whereas those like Cambodia, Vietnam, and Lao PDR have seen the extinction of the royal animal.
Project Tiger is an unparalleled experiment that has made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest wildlife camera trap survey.
This article first appeared in www.vifindia.org and it belongs to them.