Sunday, October 15, 2023

Project Tiger

Project Tiger UPSC

Project Tiger is a pioneering and highly successful wildlife conservation initiative in India. It is focused on the protection and preservation of the Bengal tiger, which was facing a severe population decline due to poaching and habitat destruction. 

As a result of Project Tiger and other conservation efforts, India has made significant progress in increasing the population of Bengal tigers. Some of the key outcomes of the project include the establishment of a network of tiger reserves across the country, increased protection for tigers and their habitats, and a rise in tiger numbers.

Project Tiger has been considered a successful model for wildlife conservation, and it has contributed to the global effort to save the endangered Bengal tiger. However, challenges like habitat fragmentation, human-wildlife conflicts, and poaching continue to pose threats to the long-term survival of these majestic animals. Conservation efforts remain ongoing to ensure the continued protection and growth of the tiger population in India.

Table of Contents

  • What is Project Tiger?
  • Objectives of Project Tiger
  • Project Tiger Sites
  • Project Tiger and Technology
  • Achievements of Project Tiger in India
  • Challenges faced by Project Tiger
  • Current Status of Project Tiger in India
  • WWF and Project Tiger
  • Project Tiger UPSC Question


What is Project Tiger?

Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation program in India that was launched in 1973 with the aim of protecting and preserving the Bengal tiger. It was launched by the Indira Gandhi government from the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand with aim of increasing the population of the tiger in the country

It was initiated by the Indian government in response to the declining population of tigers in the country, which had reached a critical point at that time.

Project Tiger was started on 1 April 1973 with nine tiger reserves in India. The initial 9 reserves covered under Project Tiger were the Jim Corbett, Manas, Ranthambore, Simlipal, Bandipur, Palamau, Sundarbans, Melghta and Kanha national parks.

It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.

The administrating body for the Project Tiger is the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). Dr. Kailash Sankhla was named the first Director of Project Tiger in India.

Objectives of Project Tiger

What is the aim of Project Tiger?

The objectives of Project Tiger, initiated by the Government of India, are as follows:

1. Conservation of Tiger Populations: The primary objective of Project Tiger is the conservation of the Bengal tiger, focusing on increasing their numbers and ensuring their long-term survival in the wild. This involves measures to protect tigers from poaching and habitat destruction.

2. Anti-Poaching Measures: One of the fundamental goals is to combat poaching of tigers by implementing stringent anti-poaching measures. This includes better patrolling, intelligence gathering, and stricter enforcement of wildlife protection laws.

3. Protection of Tiger Habitats: The project aims to establish and maintain tiger reserves and protected areas to provide safe and suitable habitats for the tiger population. These areas are designated as core tiger breeding zones.

4. Reduction of Human-Tiger Conflict: Project Tiger seeks to mitigate conflicts between humans and tigers by relocating or compensating people living within the core tiger areas. This helps reduce threats to both tigers and human communities.

5. Provide funding: The government allocated resources and funding to support the project's various activities, including habitat improvement, anti-poaching initiatives, and research.

6. Ecological Balancing: The project recognizes that the conservation of tigers also involves the preservation of the entire ecosystem. Therefore, it aims to maintain ecological balance in tiger habitats by protecting various species of flora and fauna.

7. Research and Monitoring: Project Tiger emphasizes scientific research and continuous monitoring of tiger populations to understand their behavior, genetics, and habitat requirements better. This information guides conservation efforts.

8. Community Involvement: Engaging local communities and raising awareness about the importance of tiger conservation is a key objective. Involving communities in conservation efforts can lead to their active participation in protecting tigers.

9. Promotion of Eco-Tourism: Project Tiger encourages sustainable eco-tourism in and around tiger reserves. This generates revenue for conservation efforts and helps promote awareness about tigers and their habitat.

10. Policy Advocacy: The project works on advocating policies and regulations at the national and international levels for the protection of tigers and their habitats.

These objectives collectively aim to ensure the survival and growth of the tiger population in India and maintain the ecological balance of their natural habitats. Over the years, Project Tiger has contributed significantly to tiger conservation and has served as a model for wildlife protection efforts in other countries.

Project Tiger Sites

There were several tiger reserves across India under the Project Tiger program. Here is a list of some of the well-known tiger reserves as of that time:

  • Dudhwa Tiger Reserve
  • Pilibhit Tiger Reserve
  • Ranipur Tiger Reserve
  • Amangarh Tiger Reserve
  • Corbett Tiger Reserve
  • Kalagarh Tiger Reserve
  • Rajaji Tiger Reserve
  • Panna Tiger Reserve
  • Pench Tiger Reserve
  • Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
  • Satpura Tiger Reserve
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve
  • Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve
  • Ratapani Tiger Reserve
  • Durgavati Tiger Reserve
  • Indravati Tiger Reserve
  • Udanti Sitanadi Tiger Reserve
  • Achanakmar Tiger Reserve
  • Guru Ghasidas Tiger Reserve
  • Valmiki Tiger Reserve
  • Palamu Tiger Reserve
  • Sariska Tiger Reserve
  • Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
  • Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve
  • Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve
  • Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve
  • Melghat Tiger Reserve
  • Sahyadri Tiger Reserve
  • Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve
  • Bor Tiger Reserve
  • Satkosia Tiger Reserve
  • Simlipal Tiger Reserve
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve
  • Sunderban Tiger Reserve
  • Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve
  • Kawal Tiger Reserve
  • Amrabad Tiger Reserve
  • Bandipur Tiger Reserve
  • Bhadra Tiger Reserve
  • Kali Tiger Reserve
  • Nagarhole Tiger Reserve
  • Biligiri Ranganatha Temple Tiger Reserve
  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
  • Anamalai Tiger Reserve
  • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
  • Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
  • Srivilleiputhura Meghmalai Tiger Reserve
  • Periyar Tiger Reserve
  • Parambikulam Tiger Reserve
  • Manas Tiger Reserve
  • Nameri Tiger Reserve
  • Orang Tiger Reserve
  • Kaziranga Tiger Reserve
  • Pakke Tiger Reserve
  • Kamlang Tiger Reserve
  • Namdapha Tiger Reserve
  • Dampa Tiger Reserve

Project Tiger and Technology

The integration of technology into wildlife conservation efforts, such as Project Tiger in India, has significantly improved the monitoring and protection of tiger populations. The tools and systems demonstrate the innovative ways in which technology is being used to support tiger conservation:


The Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status, or M-STrIPES was launched in 2010, is a software-based monitoring system designed to intensively protect and monitor tigers. It facilitates data collection, analysis, and reporting, making it easier to track tiger populations and their habitats. This system aids in efficient management and protection of tigers by providing real-time data and insights.

2. e-Eye system:

The e-Eye system was launched in 2016 at Corbett, which uses thermal cameras for enhanced surveillance, is a valuable addition to the arsenal of tools for tiger protection. These cameras can capture images even in low-light conditions, providing a means to monitor tiger activity during the night, when they are most active. This enhances the ability to detect and deter poaching and human-wildlife conflicts.

 3. CaTRAT:

CaTRAT (Camera Trap data Repository and Analysis Tool) is a software solution that utilizes artificial intelligence and neural network models to automate the segregation of camera trap photographs by species. This technology speeds up the process of analyzing camera trap data, making it easier to monitor and count tigers, as well as other wildlife, and to gather valuable data for research and conservation efforts.

4. ExtractCompare:

The ExtractCompare program is designed to fingerprint tigers based on their distinctive stripe patterns. This technology is used for counting the number of individual tigers aged over one year old. It is a non-invasive method for tracking tigers and obtaining population estimates, which is crucial for effective conservation planning.

Achievements of Project Tiger in India (Success of Project Tiger in India/Project Tiger Benefits)

Project Tiger in India has achieved significant success in its efforts to conserve and protect the Bengal tiger and its habitat. Some of the key achievements and success stories of Project Tiger include:

1. Increase in Tiger Population: One of the most notable achievements is the increase in the tiger population in India. When Project Tiger was initiated in 1973, the tiger population was in critical condition. Over the years, the tiger population has shown a consistent increase, indicating the program's success in halting the decline and fostering recovery. With a current population of about 3,000 tigers, India is home to more than 70% of the global tiger population.

2. Establishment of Tiger Reserves: Project Tiger led to the creation of a network of tiger reserves across the country. These reserves serve as dedicated protected areas for tigers and their habitats, helping ensure their survival.

3. Habitat Restoration and Protection: The project has focused on improving and protecting tiger habitats, including critical corridors and landscapes. Efforts to reduce habitat destruction and fragmentation have been successful in preserving ecological balance.

4. Reduction in Poaching: Through enhanced anti-poaching efforts and stricter enforcement of wildlife protection laws, Project Tiger has successfully reduced poaching, which was a major threat to tigers.

5. Conservation of Other Species: The protection of tiger habitats has had positive cascading effects on the conservation of other species. Many endangered and vulnerable species have also benefited from these efforts.

6. Community Involvement: The inclusion of local communities in conservation efforts has led to reduced human-tiger conflicts and increased support for tiger protection. This approach has been a significant success in building a positive relationship between people and tigers.

7. Research and Monitoring: The project has facilitated extensive scientific research and monitoring of tiger populations, helping experts gain a better understanding of these animals and their needs.

8. Tourism and Awareness: The promotion of eco-tourism in and around tiger reserves has not only generated revenue for conservation but also raised awareness about the importance of tiger protection.

9. International Recognition: Project Tiger has received international recognition and praise as a model for tiger conservation. It has contributed to global efforts to save this endangered species.

10. TX2 Goal: The TX2 goal is a global commitment to double the wild tiger population by 2022, compared to the baseline population in 2010.  India's success in achieving its goal to double its wild tiger population by 2018, four years ahead of the target, is a significant milestone in global tiger conservation efforts. This achievement demonstrates India's commitment to tiger conservation and the effectiveness of initiatives like Project Tiger.

11. Policy Advocacy: The project has played a key role in advocating for policies and regulations at national and international levels to protect tigers and their habitats.

12. Continued Evolution: Project Tiger has adapted to new challenges and threats, ensuring its long-term relevance and effectiveness in tiger conservation.

While there are still challenges and ongoing work in tiger conservation, Project Tiger stands as a successful and vital initiative that has not only saved the Bengal tiger from the brink of extinction but also showcased a model for the conservation of endangered species and their ecosystems.

Challenges faced by Project Tiger

Project Tiger, while successful in many aspects, continues to face several challenges in its efforts to conserve and protect the Bengal tiger and its habitat. Some of the key challenges include:

1. Habitat Loss and Fragmentation: The rapid expansion of human settlements, agriculture, and infrastructure development has resulted in the loss and fragmentation of tiger habitats. These changes lead to isolated populations of tigers and a reduced gene pool.

2. Human-Wildlife Conflict: As human populations encroach upon tiger habitats, conflicts between tigers and humans can escalate. Tigers may prey on livestock, and in some cases, attacks on humans can occur, leading to retaliatory killings and negative attitudes towards tiger conservation.

3.Poaching and Illegal Trade: Poaching for tiger body parts and illegal trade in tiger products remain a significant threat. Tigers are poached for their bones, skin, and other body parts, which are highly valued in traditional medicine and the black market.

4. Lack of Adequate Resources: Many tiger reserves lack sufficient financial resources and trained personnel to effectively protect tigers and their habitats. Limited funding can hamper conservation efforts, including anti-poaching measures and habitat management.

5. Climate Change: Climate change can alter tiger habitats and prey availability, impacting the survival of these big cats. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and increased human-wildlife conflicts related to climate-induced habitat changes pose challenges to tiger conservation.

6. Genetic Diversity: The genetic diversity of tiger populations is a concern, particularly in isolated reserves. Inbreeding and a limited gene pool can lead to health problems and reduced reproductive success.

7.Infrastructure Development: Infrastructure projects such as roads and highways passing through or near tiger habitats can increase poaching, disrupt tiger movements, and lead to habitat destruction.

8. Lack of Corridors: The absence of well-maintained wildlife corridors connecting different tiger reserves hinders the natural movement of tigers and can lead to inbreeding and genetic problems.

9. Political and Administrative Challenges: Conservation efforts can be affected by political changes and administrative challenges. Bureaucratic issues, policy changes, and a lack of consistent leadership can hamper the continuity of conservation efforts.

10. Public Awareness and Support: Raising awareness and garnering public support for tiger conservation remains a challenge. Education and advocacy efforts are crucial to ensure long-term success.

11. Conflict Between Conservation and Development: Balancing the need for conservation with economic development can be challenging. Often, economic interests may prioritize development over conservation, leading to habitat destruction.

12. Disease Outbreaks: Disease outbreaks among wildlife populations can pose a significant threat to tigers. It's essential to monitor and manage health issues in tiger populations.

Addressing these challenges requires ongoing efforts from government agencies, conservation organizations, local communities, and international partners. Collaborative approaches, innovative technologies, and increased public awareness are vital in overcoming these obstacles and ensuring the long-term survival of the Bengal tiger.

Current Status of Project Tiger in India

As per the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) 2021-2022, the tiger population in India continues to show encouraging growth. The latest figures indicate a substantial increase, with the number of tigers in India rising by 6.74% from 2,967 in 2018 to 3,167 in 2022. This is a testament to the ongoing efforts and effectiveness of Project Tiger and other conservation initiatives.

India had made significant progress in increasing its tiger population through Project Tiger and other conservation efforts. The population was showing signs of recovery, and the country had already met its TX2 goal of doubling the wild tiger population by 2018, well ahead of the target year of 2022.

  • 2006- 1411
  • 2010- 1706
  • 2014- 2226
  • 2018- 2967
  • 2022- 3167

WWF and Project Tiger

WWF India's dedicated work for tiger conservation in collaboration with Project Tiger encompasses several crucial areas, each contributing to the overall protection and preservation of tigers and their habitats. Here's an overview of their efforts:

1. Research and Monitoring:

WWF India partners with the National Tiger Conservation Authority and state forest departments to conduct comprehensive research and monitoring activities. These include camera-trapping exercises and line-transect monitoring, essential for understanding tiger populations, the behavior of tigers, co-predators, and prey species. They played a key role in the 2018 All India Tiger Estimation, which revealed a mean tiger population estimate of 2,967.

Research and monitoring activities help in comprehending tiger movements within and outside Protected Areas, emphasizing the significance of wildlife corridors and potential tiger habitats beyond core areas.

2. Mitigating Human-Tiger Conflict:

WWF India collaborates with local communities residing in proximity to tiger habitats to address human-tiger conflict issues. Immediate financial support is provided as interim relief in case of cattle loss, which helps prevent retaliatory killings of tigers by affected communities.

Long-term measures for human-wildlife conflict management are implemented, including setting up protective trenches around agricultural fields and installing solar lights in villages to deter tigers from entering human settlements.

3. Working with Local Communities:

WWF India actively engages local communities near tiger reserves by promoting sustainable livelihoods, reducing their dependence on forests, and strengthening their support for conservation. Alternative livelihood options are introduced, such as jute and paper bag production, vermicomposting, carpet weaving, mushroom and honey cultivation, and animal husbandry.

Initiatives like providing smokeless stoves (chulhas) and encouraging the use of biogas and bio-briquettes help reduce fuel wood consumption. Regular awareness programs target school students, villagers, and involve them in conservation activities.

Community institutions that support conservation are also being established.

4. Environment Education and Awareness:

WWF India conducts regular environment education activities with local communities, stakeholders, and civil society. Awareness programs are designed for children and teachers in schools located near tiger reserves and urban areas.

Stakeholders in the tourism sector are encouraged to adopt environmentally friendly practices around wildlife habitats. Efforts are made to discourage the hunting of wild animals.

5. Policy and Advocacy:

Environmental education efforts are complemented by policy and advocacy work, promoting long-term change through the adoption of appropriate procedures by the government. WWF India has played a role in implementing the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) in collaboration with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Global Tiger Forum (GTF).

CA|TS assessments have been carried out across various tiger sites in different states, and many sites have been registered for CA|TS accreditation, with some already accredited.

6. Support through TRAFFIC India:

WWF India operates the TRAFFIC division, which monitors and investigates wildlife trade and provides information to stakeholders for effective conservation policies.

They conduct capacity-building programs for enforcement agencies, including forest departments, police, customs, and paramilitary forces. Sensitization programs on wildlife laws are organized for the judiciary to enhance their understanding and awareness of wildlife legislation.

Project Tiger UPSC Question

Q. When was Project Tiger launched?/Project Tiger was launched in the year?/When Project Tiger was started?

A. Project Tiger was officially launched in India on April 1, 1973. 

Q. Why Project Tiger was launched?

A. Project Tiger was launched in India to address the critical need for the conservation and protection of the Bengal tiger, which was facing a significant decline in population at that time. 

Q. How many Tiger Project in India?

A. As of 2023, India had 54 tiger reserves as part of Project Tiger. These reserves are spread across the country and are dedicated to the conservation and protection of tigers and their habitats. 

Q. Write a short note on Project Tiger?/Write a brief note on Project Tiger?

A. Project Tiger is a pioneering and highly successful wildlife conservation initiative in India, launched on April 1, 1973, with the primary objective of safeguarding the Bengal tiger. This project was introduced in response to the alarming decline in tiger populations and the degradation of their natural habitats. Key features of Project Tiger include:

1. Tiger Reserves: The cornerstone of Project Tiger is the creation of a network of dedicated tiger reserves, providing safe havens for these big cats. These reserves serve as core areas for tiger protection and are carefully managed to ensure the survival of tigers and their prey.

2. Conservation Measures: Project Tiger encompasses a wide range of conservation efforts, including strict anti-poaching measures, habitat protection, and human-wildlife conflict mitigation. It emphasizes the need to maintain the ecological balance of these habitats.

3. Community Involvement: A unique aspect of Project Tiger is its engagement with local communities living in and around tiger reserves. This approach seeks to reduce human-tiger conflicts, provide alternative livelihoods, and encourage community support for tiger conservation.

4. Research and Monitoring: Scientific research and monitoring are integral to the project, helping in the assessment of tiger populations, their behavior, and the health of their ecosystems. This data-driven approach guides conservation efforts.

5. International Recognition: Project Tiger is celebrated globally as a model for tiger conservation and has contributed to international efforts to protect these endangered species.

6. Economic Benefits: By promoting eco-tourism, Project Tiger generates revenue and job opportunities, benefiting local economies and fostering public support for conservation.

Project Tiger

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