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ARTICLE : Saving The Tiger
Thursday, 06 September 2012 10:08


Saving The Tiger

The country level tiger population, estimated once in every four years using the refined methodology, has shown an increasing trend with a population estimate of 1706, lower and upper limits being 1520 and 1909 respectively in the recent all India estimation (2010), as compared to the last country level estimation of 2006, with an estimate of 1411, lower and upper limits being 1165 and 1657 respectively.

 

Initiatives Taken by the Government

Legal Steps

  • Amendment of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 for providing enabling provisions towards constituting the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau.

  • Enhancement of punishment in cases of offence relating to a tiger reserve or its core area.

Administrative Steps

  • Strengthening of antipoaching activities, including special strategy for monsoon patrolling, by providing funding support to Tiger Reserve States, as proposed by them, for deployment of antipoaching squads involving ex-army personnel/home guards, apart from workforce comprising of local people, in addition to strengthening of communication / wireless facilities.

  • Constitution of the National Tiger Conservation Authority with effect from 4.09.2006, for strengthening tiger conservation by, interalia, ensuring normative standards in tiger reserve management, preparation of reserve specific tiger conservation plan, laying down annual audit report before Parliament, constituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief Ministers and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.

  • Constitution of a multidisciplinary Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau (Wildlife Crime Control Bureau) with effect from 6.6.2007 to effectively control illegal trade in wildlife.

  • The in-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for creation of five new tiger reserves, and the sites are:, Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh), Ratapani (Madhya Pradesh), Sunabeda (Orissa) and Mukundara Hills (including Darrah, JawaharSagar and Chambal Wildlife Sanctuaries) (Rajasthan) and Satyamangalam (Tamil Nadu).  Final approval has been accorded toKudremukh (Karnataka) for declaring as a Tiger Reserve.   Besides, the States have been advised to send proposals for declaring the following areas as Tiger Reserves: (i) Bor (Maharashtra), (ii) Suhelwa (Uttar Pradesh), (iii) Nagzira-Navegaon (Maharashtra), (iv) Guru Ghasidas National Park (Chhattisgarh), (v) Mhadei Sanctuary (Goa) and (vi) Srivilliputhur Grizzled Giant Squirrel / Megamalai Wildlife Sanctuaries / Varushanadu Valley (Tamil Nadu).

  • The revised Project Tiger guidelines have been issued to States for strengthening tiger conservation, which apart from ongoing activities, interalia, include funding support to States for enhanced village relocation/rehabilitation package for people living in core or critical tiger habitats (from Rs. 1 lakh/family to Rs. 10 lakhs/family), rehabilitation/resettlement of communities involved in traditional hunting, mainstreaming livelihood and wildlife concerns in forests outside tiger reserves and fostering corridor conservation through restorative strategy to arrest habitat fragmentation.

  • A scientific methodology for estimating tiger (including co-predators, prey animals and assessment of habitat status) has been evolved and mainstreamed.  The findings of this estimation/assessment are bench marks for future tiger conservation strategy.

  • An area of 34070.46 sq. km. has been notified by 17 Tiger States as core or critical tiger habitat under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006.

Financial Steps

  • Financial and technical help is provided to the States under various Centrally Sponsored Schemes, viz. Project Tiger and Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats for enhancing the capacity and infrastructure of the States for providing effective protection to wild animals.

International Cooperation

  • India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife and conservation, apart from a protocol on tiger conservation with China.

  • A protocol has been signed in September, 2011 with Bangladesh for conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban.

  • A sub-group on tiger/leopard conservation has been constituted for cooperation with the Russian Federation.

  • A Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries has been created for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation.

  • During the 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES, which was held from 3rd to 15th June, 2007 at The Hague, India introduced a resolution along with China, Nepal and the Russian Federation, with directions to Parties with operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale, for restricting such captive populations to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers.  The resolution was adopted as a decision with minor amendments. Further, India made an intervention appealing to China to phase out tiger farming, and eliminate stockpiles of Asian big cats body parts and derivatives.  The importance of continuing the ban on trade of body parts of tigers was emphasized.

  • Based on India’s strong intervention during the 58th meeting of the Standing Committee of the CITES at Geneva from 6th to 10thJuly, 2009, the CITES Secretariat has issued a notification to Parties to submit reports relating to compliance of Decisions 14.69 and 14.65 within 90 days with effect from 20.10.2009 (Progress made on restricting captive breeding operations of tigers etc.).

Reintroduction of Tigers

  • As a part of active management to rebuild Sariska and Panna Tiger Reserves where tigers have become locally extinct, reintroduction of tigers / tigresses have been done.

  • Special advisories issued for in-situ build up of prey base and tiger population through active management in tiger reserves having low population status of tiger and its prey.

Creation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF)

  • The policy initiatives announced by the Finance Minister in the Budget Speech of 29 February, 2008, interalia, contains action points relating to tiger protection. Based on the one time grant of Rs. 50.00 crore provided to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for raising, arming and deploying a Special Tiger Protection Force, the proposal for the said force has been approved by the competent authority for 13 tiger reserves.  Rs. 93 lakhs each has been released to Corbett, Ranthambhore & Dudhwa Tiger Reserve for creation of STPF during 2008-09. Since then, the guidelines of the STPF have been revised for deploying forest personnel in place of Police as an option-II, with scope for involving local people like the Van Gujjars.  During the year 2010-11 and 2011-12, an amount of Rs. 270 lakhs has been provided to the Similipal Tiger Reserve for raising, arming and deploying the STPF.  The States of Karnataka and Maharashtra have already deployed the STPF.

  • In collaboration with TRAFFIC-INDIA, an online tiger crime data base has been launched, and Generic Guidelines for preparation of reserve specific Security Plan has been evolved.

Recent Initiatives

  • Implementing a tripartite MOU with tiger States, linked to fund flows for effective implementation of tiger conservation initiatives.

  • Rapid assessment of tiger reserves done.

  • Special crack teams sent to tiger reserves affected by left wing extremism and low population status of tiger and its prey.

  • Chief Ministers of States having tiger reserves affected by left wing extremism and low population status of tiger and its prey addressed for taking special initiatives.

  • Steps taken for modernizing the infrastructure and field protection, besides launching ‘M-STrIPES’ for effective field patrolling and monitoring.

  • Steps taken for involvement of Non-Governmental Experts in the ongoing all India tiger estimation.

  • Initiatives taken for improving the field delivery through capacity building of field officials, apart from providing incentives.

  • Action initiated for using Information Technology to strengthen surveillance in tiger reserves.

  • The second round of country level tiger status assessment completed in 2010, with the findings indicating an increase with a tigerpopulation estimate of 1706, lower and upper limits being 1520 and 1909 respectively, as compared to the last country level estimation of 2006, with an estimate of 1411, lower and upper limits being 1165 and 1657 respectively.

  • The second round of independent assessment of Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves done in 2010-11 for 39 tiger reserves based on globally used framework.

  • Increase in the allocation for Project Tiger with additional components.

  • Providing special assistance for mitigation of human-tiger conflicts in problematic areas.

  • As an outcome of the fourth Trans-border Consultative Group Meeting held in New Delhi, a joint resolution has been signed with Nepal for biodiversity / tiger conservation.

  • Regional Offices of the National Tiger Conservation Authority sanctioned at Nagpur, Bengaluru and Guwahati.

  • Launching of Phase-IV tiger reserve level monitoring.

FUNDS RELEASED TO STATES UNDER THE CENTRALLY SPONSORED SCHEME OF PROJECT TIGER DURING XI PLAN PERIOD AND 2012-13

(Rs. in lakhs)

Sl. No.

States

Release

2007-08

Release

2008-09

Release

2009 -10

Release

2010-11

Release

2011-12

Release

2012-13

(as on 29.8.2012)

1

Andhra Pradesh

73.9175

56.9830

138.2540

155.6450

154.4060

208.68

2

Arunachal Pradesh

110.2542

246.1710

64.7100

226.7020

236.7857

405.9748

3

Assam

95.6140

1092.3790

194.2900

1509.4720

947.5088

101.208

4

Bihar

98.3205

49.6730

8.8560

158.3550

172.1930

247.792

5

Chhattisgarh

35.2250

169.8700

1383.5020

1813.7250

702.7260

425.5284

6

Jharkhand

45.1600

115.3770

117.1386

130.6160

156.3465

78.38783

7

Karnataka

1159.7149

689.8390

657.0620

1660.0500

1830.6500

698.0085

8

Kerala

153.2449

267.0900

311.4200

323.4600

429.7700

411.868

9

Madhya Pradesh

2975.9411

6998.5420

2582.4762

3962.730

5352.710

4951.222

10

Maharashtra

295.7191

411.1250

373.5170

2789.0600

3622.3420

513.941

11

Mizoram

82.9000

241.4500

2171.000

187.6900

225.2880

192.9848

12

Orissa

43.2800

625.9900

221.7400

815.2900

555.0761

142.956

13

Rajasthan

410.6800

2708.9500

10694.1700

2368.925

67.210

132.028

14

Tamil Nadu

45.0000

690.8060

258.3540

520.9450

605.9640

323.4878

15

Uttaranchal

202.0050

462.8500

246.2050

339.9450

399.7600

89.435

16

Uttar Pradesh

134.8900

417.5130

431.5170

407.4600

446.1258

234.508

17

West Bengal

308.6741

228.3940

298.7850

502.4800

157.6600

404.916

Total

6,270.5403

15,473.002

20,152.997

17,872.391

16,062.522

9,562.92613