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India, a land known for its rich biodiversity, has been at the forefront of wildlife conservation efforts for decades. One of its most notable successes is the Project Tiger initiative, which has been a remarkable achievement in conserving the Bengal tiger, a critically endangered species. Launched in 1973, Project Tiger has been a pioneering effort in tiger conservation and has valuable lessons for other countries to learn from.
The Need for Project Tiger
At the time of Project Tiger's inception, the tiger population in India was rapidly declining due to habitat loss, poaching, and human-wildlife conflict. In 1970, there were only an estimated 1,827 tigers left in India, and urgent action was needed to save this iconic species from extinction. It was in this context that Project Tiger was launched by the Government of India with the primary objective of conserving the Bengal tiger and its habitat.
Key Features of Project Tiger
Project Tiger adopted a multi-pronged approach to tiger conservation, which included habitat protection, anti-poaching measures, community involvement, and scientific monitoring. The key features of Project Tiger that have contributed to its success are:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday released the figures of the 5th cycle of India’s Tiger Census revealing that tiger numbers have once again increased in the country and now stand at 3,167 in the wild as of 2022. The 2018 Tiger Census, released in July 2019, established the presence of 2,967 tigers in India.
The animal population in the country has increased by 200 or 6.7 percent in the past four years. While the tiger numbers in the country stood at 1,411 in 2006, they increased to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in the 2014 cycle of evaluations. This shows that if there is a will, animals can not only be saved from extinction but can prosper with proper technique.
PM Narendra Modi released the Tiger Census while inaugurating the International Big Cat Alliance in Karnataka’s Mysuru, the first of its kind in the country, organized to mark 50 years of Project Tiger. The three-day conference will focus on the protection and conservation of seven major big cats of the world – tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, pumas, jaguars, and cheetahs.
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