Friday, January 7, 2011

Project Tiger

Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation movement initiated in India in 1972 to protect Tigers. The project aims at tiger conservation in specially constituted Tiger Reserves representative of various regions throughout India and strives to maintain viable populations of Bengal tigers in their natural environment.
In 2008, there were more than 40 Project Tiger reserves covering an area over 37,761 km2 (14,580 sq mi). Project Tiger helped to increase the population of these tigers from 1,200 in the 1970s to 3,500 in 1990s. However, a 2008 census held by the Government of India revealed that the tiger population had dropped to 1,411. Since then the government has pledged US$153 million to further fund the project, set-up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poaches and fund the relocation of up to 200,000 villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

Goals and objectives


Project Tiger was meant to identify the limiting factors and to mitigate them by suitable management. The damages done to the habitat were to be rectified so as to facilitate the recovery of the ecosystem to the maximum possible extent.
The following potential tiger habitats are being covered:[1]
  • Sivalik–Terai Conservation Unit (UP, Uttaranchal, Bihar & WB), and in Nepal
  • North east Conservation Unit
  • Sunderbans Conservation Unit
  • Central Indian Conservation Unit
  • Eastern Ghat Conservation Unit
  • Western Ghat Conservation Unit
Organisation


Project Tiger is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The overall administration of the project is monitored by a Steering Committee. A Field Director is appointed for each reserve, who is assisted by the field and technical personnel. At the centre, a full-fledged Director of the project coordinates the work for the country.
Wireless communication system and outstation patrol camps have been developed within the tiger reserves, due to which poaching has declined considerably. Fire protection engineering is carried out by suitable preventive and control measures. Villages have been relocated in many reserves, especially from core areas. Livestock grazing has been controlled to a great extent in the tiger reserves. Various compensatory developmental works have improved the water regime and the ground and field level vegetation, thereby increasing the animal density.


History


The tiger population in India at the turn of the 19th century was estimated at 45,000 individuals. The first ever all-India tiger census was conducted in 1972 which revealed the existence of only 1827 tigers. In 1973, the project was launched in Palamau Tiger Reserve, and various tiger reserves were created in the country based on a 'core-buffer' strategy. For each tiger reserve, management plans were drawn up based on the following principles:
  • Elimination of all forms of human exploitation and biotic disturbance from the core area and rationalization of activities in the buffer zone.
  • Restricting the habitat management only to repair the damages done to the eco-system by human and other interferences so as to facilitate recovery of the eco-system to its natural state.
  • Monitoring the faunal and floral changes over time and carrying out research about wildlife.
Global organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) contributed much funding to Project Tiger. Eventually, however, it was discovered that the project's field directors had been manipulating tiger census numbers in order to encourage more financial support. In fact, the numbers were so exaggerated as to be biologically impossible in some cases. In addition, Project Tiger's efforts were damaged by poaching, as well as the Sariska debacle and the latest Namdapha tragedy, both of which were reported extensively in the Indian media.

The landmark report, Status of the Tigers, Co-predators, and Prey in India, published in 2007 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority estimates only 1411 adult tigers in existence in India, plus uncensused tigers in the Sundarbans
The project to map all the forest reserves in India has not been completed yet, though the Ministry of Environment and Forests had sanctioned INR 13 million for the same in March 2004.


The Forest Rights Act passed by the Indian government in 2006 recognises the rights of some forest dwelling communities in forest areas. This has led to controversy over implications of such recognition for tiger conservation. Some have argued that this is problematic as it will increase conflict and opportunities for poaching; some also assert that "tigers and humans cannot exist". Others argue that this is a limited perspective that overlooks the reality of human-tiger coexistence and the role of abuse of power by authorities, rather than local people, in the tiger crisis. This position was supported by the Government of India's Tiger Task Force, and is also taken by some forest dwellers' organisations.


Future plans


Wildlife protection and crime risk management in the present scenario requires a widely distributed Information Network, using state-of-the-art information and communication technology. This becomes all the more important to ensure the desired level of protection in field formations to safeguard the impressive gains of a focused project like 'Project Tiger'. The important elements in wildlife protection and control are: Mapping/Plot (graphics)plotting the relative spatial abundance of wild animals, identification of risk factors, proximity to risk factors, 'sensitivity categorization', 'crime mapping' and immediate action for apprehending the offenders based on effective networking and communication.

Space technology has shown the interconnectivity of natural and anthropogenic
phenomena occurring anywhere on earth. Several tiger reserves are being linked with the Project Tiger Directorate in the GIS domain for Wildlife Crime Risk Management. A 'Tiger Atlas of India' and a 'Tiger Habitat and Population Evaluation System' for the country is being developed using state-of-the-art technology. This involves:
  • Mapping, data acquisition and GIS modeling
  • Field data collection and validation
  • Data Maintenance, dissemination and use
Satellite data is being used and classified into vegetation and land use maps on a 1:50,000 scale, with digitized data relating to contour, villages, roads, drainage, administrative boundaries and soil. The spatial layers would be attached with attribute data, viz. human population, livestock population, meteorological data, agricultural information and field data pertaining to wildlife, habitat for evolving regional protocols to monitor tigers and their habitat.Conservation of tigers and their prey species faces challenges from the need for income, lack of awareness, and lack of land use policy in landscapes having Tiger Reserves.


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Credits and Reference - wikipidea

1 comment:

  1. this is a fanatastic website!!!!!

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