Wednesday, March 6, 2013

  • Some Basic Terms

  • Buffer zones are the areas peripheral to the critical tiger habitats or core areas providing supplementary habitats for dispersing tigers and offering scope for co-existence of human activity. 

  • Core zone (critical tiger habitats): This is where tigers usually rest, reside, feed and breed. Therefore, Government should prevent any disturbance in such areas, including tourism. Poaching is generally done where there are less visitors and with connivance with officials. When the core area is isolated from tourists, it will be heaven for the poachers. 

  • Umbrella species: “a species whose conservation confers protection to a large number of naturally co-occurring species.”

  • why do we need to protect tiger ?

  1. A healthy tiger population indicates that the other ecological components in its habitat are equally robust, since tigers need large amount of prey and good habitat.
  2. If the Umbrella species is protected, it  will also ensure viable populations of other wild animals (co –predators like Leopards and  prey like dears) and the habitat (trees, shrubs, water).
  3. Thus, when you’re protecting the tiger, you’re indirectly protecting the whole jungle and all the species that live in it.

  • Why is Tiger population threatened? 
  • Deforestation because of
    • Human pressure: farming, mining, illegal felling of trees.
    • Grazing of domestic animals
  • Because of Deforestation, the size of tiger-prey (Deer, sambar etc.) has declined.
  • Hence tigers have to come outside the protected areas to hunt for animals, including domestic cattle. This leads to man-animal conflict, tiger deaths in road accidents, and provides ample opportunities to poachers.
  • Tiger breeding/ reproduction is reduced/disturbed due to highways, noise pollution, tourism etc.
  • Tiger is a territorial animal, which advertises its presence in an area through urine marking and maintains a territory. Therefore, to support a population of 80-100 tigers, you’d need a protected area of atleast 1000 sq km  totally undisturbed. Otherwise the male tigers would fight, maim and kill each other and the weaker ones would be forced to hunt in surrounding villages- leading to man-animal conflicts.
  • But because of the highways, villages, farming activities, the Habitats are getting fragmented. Habitat Fragmentation = bad for tigers. They cannot move, hunt or breed freely in small and fragmented habitats.
  • Insurgency in North East and naxals in Central India= Forest dept. cannot efficiently work and protect tigers.

  • Project Tiger Scheme
  1.        Project Tiger" was launched by the Government of India in 1973 in nine reserves of different States (Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) over an area of approximately 14,000 sq. km.
    2.      Since then, the project coverage has expanded considerably to 41 tiger reserves (TR), encompassing an area of around 46,388.22 in 17 tiger States with 32578.78 of notified core/ critical tiger habitats in 16 tiger States.  

  • National Tiger Conservation Authority
  • It is a provided in the Wildlife Protection Act (Ameneded in 2006).
  • Therefore NTCA is a statutory body. The Minister of Environment and Forest, is the chairman of this NTCA. (Jayanthi Natarajan right now).
  • It coordinates, implements and monitors  Project Tiger.
  • It prepares annual reports, which are laid down in the parliament.

  • Tiger Task Force 

  1. The Prime Minister of India set up the Tiger Task Force to strengthen the conservation of Tigers in the country.
  2. The Tiger Task Force has initiated a large number of conservation initiatives as its guiding principles for all the Tiger Reserves in the country


  1. India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans -boundary illegal trade in wildlife and conservation,
  2. India has signed a protocol on tiger conservation with China
  3. India has signed a protocol has with Bangladesh for conservation of tigers in Sunderban region.
  4. India has Constituted a group on tiger and leopard conservation with Russia.
  5. India is a party to Convention on Inter national Trade in Endangered Species  of Wild Fauna and Flora  (CITES)
  6. Unlike China, India doesn’t support captive breeding of tigers (breeding tigers on a commercial scale, to sell their hides and bones later, just like a poultry farm).
  7. India made an appealing to China to phase out tiger farming and eliminate stockpiles of Atiger body parts and derivatives.

  • Tiger population : SOME HOPE 

1.     The largest number of tigers lives in Karnataka – about 280 – and conservation efforts have been successful in the entire Western Ghats area, with Tamil Nadu and Kerala also seeing good results. The Terai belt of grasslands at the Himalayan foothills in Uttarakhand have also done surprisingly well in nurturing their tiger populations.
2.     While Kaziranga in Assam has 100 tigers, the largest in a single reserve, there are worrying signs from the North Eastern area. These forested hills are capable of supporting far more than the number of tigers that were found in the area, but poaching and the pressure of developmental activities have kept the numbers low. 


  • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger was revised in August 2011.
  •  Its allotment was stepped up for the XI Plan to Rs. 1216.86 crore, especially to support the States for securing inviolate space for tigers. A number of additional components have also been included:

(i)  Change in the funding pattern in respect of North Eastern States (90:10),

(ii)  raising compensation for man-animal conflict to Rs. 2 lakh,

(iii)  acquisition of private land for making the core/critical tiger habitat inviolate,

(iv)   establishment of Tiger Safari, interpretation/awareness centres under the existing
component of ‘co-existence agenda in buffer/fringe areas’, and management of such centres through the respective Panchayati Raj Institutions,
(v)         re-introduction of Cheetah.

(vi)              Other initiatives include

o  creation of the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, 
o  giving in-principle to five new tiger reserve, viz. Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda (Orissa), Mukundara Hills (including Darrah, Jawahar Sagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) (Rajasthan) and Sathyamangalam (Tamil Nadu), 
o  in-principle approval for use of CAMPA funds towards village relocation from core areas, 
o  completion of e-surveillance project in Corbett, and 
o  launching ‘M-STrIPES’ monitoring protocol 

  • Supreme Court ordered that tourism be banned in core areas of all tiger reserves in the country 
  • It has said this ban should continue till it passes final orders in the matter filed by Bhopal-based environment protection NGO Prayatna. The NGO is demanding a ban on tourism in 'core areas' of tiger reserves while it can continue in the 'buffer areas' of tiger reserves.
  •  The court had earlier directed the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), to submit final guidelines related to tourism in core area by July.
  • Supreme Court considers the plea of Government and passes judgment: ok well very, since you’ve framed the new guidelines, We lift the ban.but from now onwards, all the tourism activities must be regulated in very strict manner. And We also direct the state governments to prepare their tiger conservation plan within in six months and submit it to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for approval.



  • PIB


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