Tiger population: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - April - 2015

Tiger population

Tiger act as a symbol of the richness of the ecosystem, thus conservation of tigers is necessary to to protect the wilderness of the entire ecosystem. Wilderness play an important role in providing the life support system in any ecosystem. For the survival of the mankind it is necessary to preserve the wilderness. Tigers constitute the topmost level in the heirarcy of the food chain and they play a very important role in the ecosystem. Food chain are generally inverted so harm to the topmost carnivores will adversely impact a large number of species in the lower level. All the species in a food chain are interlinked cornivores help in maintain the population which help in retaining the population of grass and trees and later are the primary source of food for entire food chain. Thus every specy including tiger has importance in the ecosystem and importance of the specy increases if it is in the higher trophic level.

There are various reasons which provides a threat of Tiger protection. Important among them are:

  • Despite several measures taken by government poaching still continue.
  • Due to continous reduction in forest land, habitat for Tiger has been reducing continously.
  • Pray for the Tiger are also decreasing.
  • Some of the Tigers live outside the protected area, there conservation is extremely difficult.

For the protection of Tigers, the Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. AT the begining Project Tiger covered only 8 Tiger reserves and it has now expanded to 47. The tiger coservation is based upon a core and buffer area strategy. The core areas are given more protection from human interference. They are also provided with the legal backing as national park or a sanctuary. The buffer or peripheral areas have mixture of land which is forest as well as non forest. Important points in Project Tiger are:

  • The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people oriented agenda in the buffer.
  • Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forestsÿþ and Climate Change.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has an overarching supervisory / coordination role for Tiger conservation, performing functions as provided in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Recently a survey for number of Tigers was conducted. Survey found that there is an increase of 30% in the number of Tigers from 2010. At present India has 2226 Tigers, number was around 1700 in 2010. Now india is home to approximately 70% world’s tiger population. Largest increase is seen in western ghats landscape complex (kerala , tamilnadu , karnataka & goa). Among the states Karnataka has maximum number of Tigers, now it has 406 tiger. Wayanand landscape (mandumalai, Bandipur, Nagarhole & wayanand)complex holds the world’s single largest tiger population.

There are various reasons associated with this increase in Tigers population. Important among them are:

  • Due to better survillience and protection of Tiger.
  • The main reasons for this increase were effective tackling of poaching
  • The positive attitude of the wildlife services.
  • Most important reason is strong political will.
  • Use of strong science and dedicated field effort.
  • Now Tiger corridors are also protected which helps in better safeguard when Tigers are roaming.

New survey used “state of the art technology of double sampling “. This is the third country-level tiger assessment that employed state-of-the art technology of double sampling, using camera traps and ground survey. The same technology was first used in 2006 which revealed a shocking dip in tiger numbers just 1,411 tigers This technology has two important components:

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