1. Home
  2. News

Project Tiger: A 50-Year Journey Towards Protecting India's Tigers and Biodiversity

Project Tiger, initiated by the Indian Government in 1973, is a successful conservation effort aimed at protecting the country's tiger population and biodiversity.

Vivek Singh
Project Tiger (Photo Courtesy: Unsplash)
Project Tiger (Photo Courtesy: Unsplash)

On International Tiger Day, a detailed report was released at the Corbett Tiger Reserve on July 29, 2023, attended by various dignitaries and officials from tiger range states and relevant ministries. Project Tiger, initiated by the Indian Government in 1973, is a successful conservation effort aimed at protecting the country's tiger population and biodiversity. It began with nine tiger reserves covering 18,278 km2 and has grown remarkably over fifty years, now encompassing 53 reserves across 75,796 km2, covering 2.3% of India's land area.

India currently hosts nearly 75% of the world's wild tiger population. The project's initial phase focused on enacting wildlife protection laws and establishing protected areas. However, tiger numbers declined in the 1980s due to extensive poaching. To counter this, the government launched the second phase in 2005, adopting a landscape-level approach with community involvement, strict law enforcement, and modern technology for scientific monitoring to ensure effective tiger conservation.

Adopting a landscape-level approach in tiger conservation led to positive outcomes, such as increased tiger population and significant achievements like establishing core and buffer areas, identifying new tiger reserves, and recognising tiger landscapes and corridors. Monitoring efforts encouraged scientific thinking among forest staff, and technology ensured data collection and analysis transparency. India classified tiger habitats into five major landscapes, enabling effective ecological and management-based strategies.

As a result of these efforts, the spatial distribution of tigers has changed considerably, with more than 75% of the tiger population now residing in protected areas. There has been a notable rise in unique tiger sightings from 2461 in 2018 to 3080 in 2022. During the celebration of 50 years of Project Tiger, the Prime Minister declared a minimum tiger population of 3167 based on camera-trapped areas.

Further analysis, including non-camera-trapped tiger presence areas, estimated the upper limit of the tiger population to be 3925, with an average number of 3682 tigers, indicating an impressive annual growth rate of 6.1%. Central India and the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains have experienced significant increases in tiger populations, particularly in Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra. However, the Western Ghats witnessed localized declines, necessitating targeted monitoring and conservation efforts.

Several states, including Mizoram, Nagaland, Jharkhand, Goa, Chhattisgarh, and Arunachal Pradesh, reported concerning trends with small tiger populations. The highest tiger populations are found in Madhya Pradesh (785), followed by Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra.

While many tiger reserves have shown remarkable growth, approximately 35% of the reserves face challenges and require enhanced protection measures, habitat restoration, ungulate augmentation, and tiger reintroduction. Maintaining ecological integrity necessitates eco-friendly development, minimizing mining impacts, and rehabilitating mining sites. Strengthening protected area management, intensifying anti-poaching measures, using scientific thinking and technology-driven data collection, and addressing human-wildlife conflict are crucial steps to protect India's tiger populations.

Despite significant progress by India's Project Tiger over the past five decades, poaching remains a threat to tiger conservation. Continuous efforts to protect tiger habitats and corridors are essential for securing the future of India's tigers and their ecosystems. 

Take this quiz to know more about radish Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters