Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Pseudo-melanism in Tigers of Simlipal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pigmentation of Tigers

Mains level : Not Much

A team of scientists has resolved the genetic mystery of Simlipal’s so-called black tigers.

What are Black Tigers?

  • Tigers have a distinctive dark stripe pattern on a light background of white or golden.
  • A rare pattern variant, distinguished by stripes that are broadened and fused together, is also observed in both wild and captive populations.
  • This is known as pseudo-melanism, which is different from true melanism, a condition characterized by unusually high deposition of melanin, a dark pigment.
  • This pseudo-melanism is linked to a single mutation in Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep), a gene responsible for similar traits in other cat species.

Where are they mostly found?

  • While truly melanistic tigers are yet to be recorded, pseudo-melanistic ones have been camera-trapped repeatedly, and only, in Simlipal, a 2,750-km tiger reserve in Odisha, since 2007.
  • Launched in 2017, the study was the first attempt to investigate the genetic basis for this unusual phenotype (appearance).

Why they are rare?

  • Mutants are genetic variations which may occur spontaneously, but not frequently, in nature.
  • A cub gets two copies of each gene from both parents, and a recessive gene can show up only in the absence of the dominant one.
  • So, two normal-pattern tigers carrying the recessive pseudo-melanism gene will have to breed together for a one-in-four probability of giving birth to a black cub.
  • But recessive genes are rare and it is unlikely that two unrelated tigers will carry the same one and pass it on together to a cub.

Connection with Simlipal TR

  • In an ideal tiger world, where far-ranging individuals are never short of choices for partners, that makes succession of black tigers a rarity.
  • Under exceptional circumstances, a black tiger may succeed as part of a very small population that is forced to inbreed in isolation for generations.
  • As it turned out, that is what happened at Simlipal.
  • Pseudo-melanistic tigers are also present in three zoos in India — Nandankanan (Bhubaneswar), Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Chennai) and Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park (Ranchi) — where they were born in captivity.
  • All of them have ancestral links to one individual from Simlipal.

What about natural selection?

  • Natural selection eliminates the weakest from a gene pool, and the traits of the more successful get passed on.
  • Niche modelling, the study said, shows higher frequency of melanistic leopards in darker tropical and subtropical forests than in drier open habitats.
  • Likewise, darker coats may confer a selective advantage in both hunting and avoiding hunters in Simlipal’s tropical moist deciduous and semi-evergreen closed-canopy forest, with a relatively darker understory.

Try this PYQ:

Two important rivers – one with its source in Jharkhand (and known by a different name in Odisha), and another, with its source in Odisha – merge at a place only a short distance from the coast of Bay of Bengal before flowing into the sea. This is an important site of wildlife and biodiversity and a protected area.

 

Which one of the following could be this?
(a) Bhitarkanika
(b) Chandipur-on-sea
(c) Gopalpur-on-sea
(d) Simlipal

 

Post your answers here.

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Back2Basics: Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation program launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Places in news: Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

Mains level : Not Much

A herd of around 25 elephants from Nepal’s Shuklaphanta National Park reached the tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh almost a month back.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve

  • Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is located in Pilibhit district of Uttar Pradesh and was notified as a tiger reserve in 2014.
  • It is one of the few well-forested districts in Uttar Pradesh.
  • It forms part of the Terai Arc Landscape in the upper Gangetic Plain along the India-Nepal border.
  • The habitat is characterized by sal forests, tall grasslands and swamp maintained by periodic flooding from rivers.
  • The Sharda Sagar Dam extending up to a length of 22 km is on the boundary of the reserve.
  • The tiger reserve got the first international award TX2 for doubling the tiger population in a stipulated time.

Try answering this PYQ:

Q.Consider the following protected areas:

  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

 

Post your answers here.
6
Please leave a feedback on thisx

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Places in news: Corbett Tiger Reserve

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Jim Corbett NP, NTCA

Mains level : Tiger Conservation

The Delhi High Court has asked the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to consider as a representation a petition to stop the alleged illegal construction of bridges and walls within the tiger breeding habitat of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Jim Corbett National Park

  • Jim Corbett NP is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
  • It is located in Nainital district and Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand and was named after hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett.
  • The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.
  • It has sub-Himalayan belt geographical and ecological characteristics.
  • Dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, peepal, rohini and mango trees.
  • Forest covers almost 73% of the park, while 10% of the area consists of grasslands.

Try answering this PYQ:

Among the following Tiger Reserves, which one has the largest area under “Critical Tiger Habitat” ? (CSP 2020)

(a) Corbett

(b) Ranthambore

(c) Nagarjunasagar- Srisailam

(d) Sunderbans

 

Post your answers here:
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Back2Basics: National Tiger Conservation Authority

  • The NTCA was established in December 2005, following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, constituted by the Prime Minister of India.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for constituting NTCA responsible for the implementation of the Project Tiger plan to protect endangered tigers.
  • It works for the reorganized management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
  • A program for protection called, ‘Tiger Protection Program’ (popularly known as Project Tiger) was started in 1973, by the GOI in co-operation with WWF.

UPSC 2022 countdown has begun! Get your personal guidance plan now! (Click here)

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[pib] Leopard Population in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Leopard populations in India

Mains level : Tiger and leopard conservation: A success

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the Status of Leopards Report.

Confused over Leopard and Cheetah?

The most common difference between these two animals is the patterns on their coat. At first glance, it may look like they both have spots, but in actual fact, a leopard has rosettes which are rose-like markings, and cheetahs have a solid round or oval spot shape.

Indian Leopards

  • The Indian leopard (Panthera pardus fusca) is a leopard subspecies widely distributed on the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is one of the big cats occurring on the Indian subcontinent, apart from the Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard.
  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because populations have declined following habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching for the illegal trade of skins and body parts.

Leopards in India

  • India now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7910 conducted 2014.
  • More than 60% increase in population has been recorded.
  • The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690 respectively.
  • India’s world record tiger survey also estimated the population of leopards and the tiger range was found a home to 12,852 (12,172-13,535) leopards.

Significance

  • The increase in Tiger, Lion & Leopards numbers over the last few years is a testimony to the conservation efforts and of the fledgeling wildlife & biodiversity of the country.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Report of the All India Tiger Estimation 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Project Tiger

Mains level : Tiger conservation

India’s tiger population has reached a new high at 2,367.

Before reading this newscard, try these PYQs:

  1. The term ‘M-STrIPES’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of: (CSP 2017)

(a) Captive breeding of Wild Fauna

(b) Maintenance of Tiger Reserves

(c) Indigenous Satellite Navigation System

(d) Security of National Highways

Q.Consider the following protected areas: (CSP 2012)

  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

All India Tiger Estimation

MP-tops-country-with-526-tigers-as-per-All-India-Tiger-Estimation-2018
  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • However, this time, the census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which were not possible due to logistic constraints before.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers. This was supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.

Details of the report

  • India has 70% of the world’s tigers, says the report.
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase, according to a press statement.

Implementing CATS frameworks

  • India had embarked upon assessing management interventions through the globally developed Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) framework.
  • This framework will now be extended to all fifty tiger reserves across the country.

Back2Basics: Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Mapping: Melghat Tiger Reserve

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Melghat Tiger Reserve

Mains level : Tiger conservation

Maharashtra CM has sought alternative routes for the proposed broad gauge conversion of a railway line passing through the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Amravati district.

Try this question from CSP 2012:

Consider the following protected areas:

1. Bandipur 2. Bhitarkanika 3. Manas 4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Melghat Tiger Reserve

  • Melghat, part of the Satpura-Maikal landscape was among the first nine tiger reserves notified in 1973-74 under the Project Tiger.
  • The Tapti River and the Gawilgadh ridge of the Satpura Range form the boundary of the reserve.
  • The forest is tropical dry deciduous in nature, dominated by teak.
  • The reserve is a catchment area for five major rivers: the Khandu, Khapra, Sipna, Gadga and Dolar. These all rivers are tributaries of the river Tapti.

Back2Basics: Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[pib] India’s Tiger Census sets a New Guinness Record

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : All India Tiger Estimation 2018 results

Mains level : Tiger conservation

The fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, results of which were declared to the nation on Global Tiger Day last year has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.

Before reading this newscard, try these PYQs:

Q. The term ‘M-STrIPES’ is sometimes seen in the news in the context of: (CSP 2017)

(a) Captive breeding of Wild Fauna

(b) Maintenance of Tiger Reserves

(c) Indigenous Satellite Navigation System

(d) Security of National Highways

Q.Consider the following protected areas: (CSP 2012)

  1. Bandipur
  2. Bhitarkanika
  3. Manas
  4. Sunderbans

Which of the above are declared Tiger Reserves?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

About All India Tiger Estimation

  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • However, this time, the census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which were not possible due to logistic constraints before.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers. This was supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.

Highlights of the 2018 estimation

  • India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014, according to results of a tiger census.
  • India has achieved the target of doubling tiger population four years before the 2022 deadline.
  • According to the census, Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand at number 3 with 442 tigers.
  • While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. All other states witnessed a positive trend.

Back2Basics: Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[op-ed snap] The right count

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tiger Census

Mains level : Methodology of tiger census

Context

Ever since they slumped to an all-time low of around 1,400 in 2006-2007, India’s tiger numbers have increased. The last Tiger Census Report put the population at 2,967, a 33% increase over 2014 when tigers were last enumerated. 

Doubts on numbers

  • Counting methods – the achievements in conservation have been clouded by doubts over the counting methods. An investigation revealed that the last tiger census had over-reported the population by 16%.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has taken the first step towards introducing correctives. It has admitted the necessity of “bringing more scientific robustness to the exercise”.

Methods

  • Pawprints – In the 1970s, when India embarked on Project Tiger, conservation authorities sought to identify every tiger in the wild from its paw print. Scientists criticised this method as highly subjective and riddled with duplication. 
  • Investigation in the past – In 2005, when this newspaper reported that the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan had lost all its tigers, pug mark surveys had claimed that all was well at the reserve.
  • Change in methods – Since 2006, tiger audits have relied on camera traps. They have estimated the animal’s prey base and tried to gauge the health of the tiger’s habitats. All this has helped the NTCA and WII to arrive at more realistic numbers. 
  • Some issues – The quality of camera traps has been a major issue in several reserves and scientists have contended that the NTCA and WII have not devised sound protocols.

Latest census

  • Doubts – It counted under-age cubs, and methods used to identify the uniqueness of an individual animal were given short shrift and the problem of duplication resurfaced.
  • Peer reviews – the agency has dismissed calls to subject the tiger census procedures to peer reviews.

Conclusion

It is important to pass this credibility test. Otherwise, India’s greatest wildlife protection success story will not have a place in the scientific literature. Tiger conservation will continue to be linked to attempts to score political points.


Back2Basics

Tiger Census

NTCA along with the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) conducts the tiger census.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[pib] Tiger Corridors in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tiger corridors in India

Mains level : Conservation of tigers in India

The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has informed about the Tiger corridors in Country in Lok Sabha.

Tiger corridors in India

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India has mapped out 32 major corridors across the country.
  • These are operationalised through a Tiger Conservation Plan, mandated under section 38V of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The list of macro/landscape level tiger corridors are as under:
Sl. No. Landscape Corridor States/ Country
1. Shivalik Hills & Gangetic Plains (i) Rajaji-Corbett Uttarakhand
(ii) Corbett-Dudhwa Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Nepal
(iii) Dudhwa-Kishanpur Katerniaghat Uttar Pradesh, Nepal
2. Central India & Eastern Ghats (i) Ranthambhore-Kuno-Madhav Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan
(ii) Bandhavgarh-Achanakmar Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
(iii) Bandhavgarh-Sanjay Dubri-Guru Ghasidas Madhya Pradesh
(iv) Guru Ghasidas-Palamau-Lawalong Chhattisgarh & Jharkhand
(v) Kanha-Achanakmar Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh
(vi) Kanha-Pench Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
(vii) Pench-Satpura-Melghat Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra
(viii) Kanha-Navegaon Nagzira-Tadoba-Indravati Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh
(ix) Indravati-Udanti Sitanadi-Sunabeda Chhattisgarh, Odisha
(x) Similipal-Satkosia Odisha
(xi) Nagarjunasagar-Sri Venkateshwara National Park Andhra Pradesh
3. Western Ghats (i) Sahyadri-Radhanagari-Goa Maharashtra, Goa
(ii) Dandeli Anshi-Shravathi Valley Karnataka
(iii) Kudremukh-Bhadra Karnataka
(iv) Nagarahole-Pusphagiri-Talakavery Karnataka
(v) Nagarahole-Bandipur-Mudumalai-Wayanad Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
(vi) Nagarahole-Mudumalai-Wayanad Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
(vii) Parambikulam-Eranikulam-Indira Gandhi Kerala, Tamil Nadu
(viii) Kalakad Mundanthurai-Periyar Kerala, Tamil Nadu
4. North East (i) Kaziranga-Itanagar WLS Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
(ii) Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Assam
(iii) Kaziranga-Nameri Assam
(iv) Kaziranga-Orang Assam
(v) Kaziranga-Papum Pane Assam
(vi) Manas-Buxa Assam, West Bengal, Bhutan
(vii) Pakke-Nameri-Sonai Rupai-Manas Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
(viii) Dibru Saikhowa-D’Ering-Mehaong Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
(ix) Kamlang-Kane-Tale Valley Arunachal Pradesh
(x) Buxa-Jaldapara West Bengal

 


Back2Basics

Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 by during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • It is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
  • The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the distribution of tigers in the country.
  • The project’s task force visualized these tiger reserves as breeding nuclei, from which surplus animals would migrate to adjacent forests.
  • The government has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[pib] Government to develop a master plan for Tigers at High altitude

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : GTF

Mains level : Conserving Tigers at High altitude

  • Union Environment Ministry released a report on Status of Tiger Habitats in high altitude ecosystems.

About the study

  • The study is led by the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), with range country governments of Bhutan, India and Nepal, along with WWF.
  • It has been supported by the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHPC) of the IUCN.
  • This provides the action strategy for a high altitude tiger master plan, with gainful portfolio for local communities.
  • It ensures centrality of tiger conservation in development, through an effective coordination mechanism, involving stakeholders and line departments operating within the landscape.

Why such report?

  • Various studies reveal that even ecology at high altitude is compatible for the tiger growth.
  • The habitat of tiger of varied, encompassing several biomes and ecological conditions.
  • However, most of the high-altitude habitats, within the range have not been surveyed for an appraisal of tiger presence, prey and habitat status.
  • Tiger habitats in high altitude require protection through sustainable land use, as they are a high value ecosystem with several hydrological and ecological processes providing ecosystem services.
  • Several high-altitude habitats in South Asia have the spatial presence of tiger, active in-situ efforts are called for ensuring their conservation.

Back2Basics

Global Tiger Forum

  • The GTF was formed in 1993 on recommendations from an international symposium on Tiger Conservation at New Delhi, India.
  • The GTF is the only intergovernmental international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the Tiger.
  • Utilizing co-operative policies, common approaches, technical expertise, scientific modules and other appropriate programmes and controls the GTF is focused on saving the remaining 5 sub-species of Tigers distributed over 13 Tiger Range countries of the world.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Report on illegal global tiger trade counts highest in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the report

Mains level : Preventing animal poaching in India


  • A new report has quantified the illegal global trade in tigers and tiger parts over a 19-year period between 2000 and 2018.

About the report

  • The new report has been compiled by TRAFFIC, a NGO working in conservation and currently in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Findings of the report

  • Overall, conservative estimates of 2,359 tigers were seized from 2000 to 2018 across 32 countries and territories globally. These occurred from a total of 1,142 seizure incidents, the report said.
  • Apart from live tigers and whole carcasses, tiger parts were seized in various forms such as skin, bones or claws.
  • The report explains how the number of tigers was estimated from these diverse sets of seizures.
  • On average, 60 seizures were recorded annually, accounting for almost 124 tigers seized each year.
  • The top three countries with the highest number of seizure incidents were India (463 or 40.5% of total seizures) and China (126 or 11.0%), closely followed by Indonesia (119 or 10.5%).

Indian findings

  • While the latest census has put India’s tiger population at 2,967, the Traffic report uses the 2016 WWF estimate of 2,226, with India home to more than 56% of the global wild tiger population.
  • India is the country with the highest number of seizure incidents (463, or 40% of all seizures) as well as tigers seized (625).
  • In terms of various body parts seized, India had the highest share among countries for tiger skins (38%), bones (28%) and claws and teeth (42%).

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

[op-ed snap] Burning bright: on India’s tiger census

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Aunthenticity of tiger census

CONTEXT

If India has increased its population of tigers to an estimated 2,967 individuals in 2018-19, putting behind fiascos such as the Sariska wipeout 15 years ago, it adds to its global standing as a conservation marvel: a populous country that has preserved a lot of its natural heritage even amid fast-paced economic growth.

Background

  • Since the majority of the world’s wild tigers live in India, there is global attention on the counting exercise and the gaps the assessment exposes.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has asserted in its report, ‘Status of Tigers in India 2018’, that 83% of the big cats censused were individually photographed using camera traps, 87% were confirmed through a camera trap-based capture-recapture technique, and other estimation methods were used to establish the total number.
  • Previous estimates for periods between 2006 and 2010 and then up to 2014 indicated a steady increase in tiger abundance.

The debate regarding the numbers

  • Such numbers, however, are the subject of debate among sections of the scientific community, mainly on methodological grounds, since independent studies of even well-protected reserves showed a lower increase.
  • It is important to put all the latest data, which are no doubt encouraging, through rigorous peer review.
  • Conservation achievements — and some failures — can then be the subject of scientific scrutiny and find a place in scientific literature to aid efforts to save tigers.
Present time situation
  • There are several aspects to the latest counting operation — a staggering exercise spread over 3,81,400 sq km and 26,838 camera trap locations — that are of international interest, because some tiger range countries are beginning their own census of the cats.
  • Moreover, even developed countries are trying to revive populations of charismatic wild creatures such as wolves and bears through a more accurate outcome measurement.
  • For India’s tigers, not every landscape is welcoming, as the official report makes clear.
Divergences in population
  • The less accessible Western Ghats has witnessed a steady increase in numbers from 2006, notably in Karnataka, and Central India has an abundance, but there is a marked drop in Chhattisgarh and Odisha; in Buxa, Dampa and Palamau, which are tiger reserves, no trace of the animal was found.
  • It is imperative for the NTCA to analyse why some landscapes have lost tigers, when the entire programme has been receiving high priority and funding for years now at ₹10 lakh per family that is ready to move out of critical habitat.
Conclusion
  • Ultimately, saving tigers depends most on the health of source populations of the species that are estimated to occupy a mere 10% of the habitat.
  • The conflict in opening up reserves to road-building has to end, and identified movement corridors should be cleared of commercial pressures.
  • Hunting of prey animals, such as deer and pig, needs to stop as they form the base for growth of tiger and other carnivore populations.
  • As some scientists caution, faulty numbers may hide the real story.
  • They may only represent a ‘political population’ of a favoured animal, not quite reflective of reality.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

All India Tiger Estimation Report – 2018

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tiger census 2018, Tx2

Mains level : Conservation of tigers in India

  • India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014, according to results of a tiger census.
  • India has achieved the target of doubling tiger population four years before the 2022 deadline.

Statewise tiger count

  • According to the census, Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand at number 3 with 442 tigers.
  • While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. All other states witnessed a positive trend.

About All India Tiger Estimation

  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • However, this time, the census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which was not possible due to logistic constrains before.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers. This was supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.
  • Taking a step further, authorities have attempted to digitize the records by mandating the use of a GIS based app called M-STRiPES (Monitoring System For Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) developed by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.

Back2Basics

Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

What drives tiger dispersal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Man-animal conflict and its resolution

  • The terrain affects tiger dispersal differently in the Western Ghats and central India, two strongholds of wild tiger populations in the country, finds a new study.

Gene flow of big cats

  • A team of researchers studied this across 30,000 sq km in the Western Ghats in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
  • They collected tiger faeces in forests including Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and used forensic samples to obtain genetic data of 115 individual tigers.
  • Comparing the data with the team’s earlier study in central revealed an interesting pattern — the relationship between terrain and gene flow is “inverted” in both regions.
  • While gene flow correlated with rough terrain in central India, it was linked with smooth forest terrain containing minimal human disturbance in the Ghats.

Why do tigers traverse?

  • Tigers in India traverse long distances to find mates and new territories.
  • But the movement depends on roughness of the terrain and human disturbance in the area.
  • The central Indian landscape is highly fragmented with high densities of people, while the Western Ghats has lesser human disturbance and is home to the world’s largest contiguous tiger population.
  • A study has revealed that roughness of terrain and human footprint drove tiger gene flow in central India: tigers moved across ridges and rough topography to avoid the presence of people.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

No Indo-Nepal pact on tigers yet

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Tiger reserves mentioned

Mains level: Bilateral cooperation on tiger conservation


News

  • Though India and Nepal had agreed to collaborate on conducting the tiger census in their countries in 2018, they’ve yet to sign an agreement on sharing detailed assessments of the numbers.
  • It was expected that both countries would arrive at an agreement to be signed during the ongoing conference Global Tiger Recovery Programme.

Adjoining transitions

  1. The Chitwan National Park in Chitwan and Parsa Wildlife Reserve of Nepal are adjacent to the Balmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar.
  2. Likewise, Nepal’s Bardiya National Park adjoins India’s Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, while the Shuklaphant National Park in Nepal adjoins India’s Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

Avoiding double count

  1. Nepal already publicized the results of its tiger census last September — 235, and this represents an 18% rise from the 198 tigers in 2013.
  2. However, India needs details on the locations of these tigers, which are captured via camera traps, to be sure that some tigers found on the border are not double-counted.

Adopting a common methodology

  1. India’s tiger census is huge and spans a vast area.
  2. However, both (countries) are sovereign and so data sharing must be on equal terms.
  3. Prior to beginning its census, India had also signed agreements with Bhutan and Bangladesh regarding sharing tiger numbers and conducting surveys using a common methodology.
  4. Both these countries had already shared data with India.

Indian Count

  1. Officially, India had 2,226 tigers as of 2014.
  2. An ongoing census is expected to reveal an update to these numbers.
  3. 25-35% of India’s tigers now lived outside protected reserves.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

India can’t handle more tigers, say experts

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Findings of the survey

Mains level: Tiger conservation in India


News

  • With increasing tiger count in India, global experts and officials in the government suggest that India must also prepare for a new challenge — of reaching the limits of its management capacity.

What do numbers say?

  1. Officially, India had 2,226 tigers as of 2014.
  2. An ongoing census is expected to reveal an update to these numbers.
  3. But experts from the Global Tiger Forum, said that India’s current capacity to host tigers ranged from 2,500-3,000 tigers.

Signs of Mismanagement

  1. 25-35% of India’s tigers now lived outside protected reserves.
  2. With dwindling core forest as well as the shrinking of tiger corridors, there are several challenges — alongside the traditional challenges of poaching and man-animal conflict.
  3. Recent attempts at translocating tigers to unpopulated reserves, such as Satkosia in Orissa, have ended badly, with one of the tigers dying.

Way Forward

  1. When tiger recovery efforts began 50 years ago we had about 2,000 tigers.
  2. If after all this effort and expenditure, we are satisfied with just 3,000 tigers, it points at a serious management problem.
  3. Needlessly huge amount of money is being dumped repeatedly on the same 25,000-30,000 sq. km area where tigers are already at saturation densities.
  4. However other areas with potential for future recovery are starved of key investments.
  5. There are vast tracts of potential tiger habitat that can be used to improve prey density, develop tiger corridors and therefore support a much larger population.

Facts for Prelims

  1. Since 2006, the WII has been tasked with coordinating the tiger estimation exercise.
  2. The once-in-four-years exercise calculated, in 2006, that India had only 1,411 tigers.
  3. This rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014 on the back of improved conservation measures and new estimation methods.

International Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation

  1. The 3rd Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation was recently inaugurated in New Delhi.
  2. Third in a series of Stock Taking Conferences, this is the second to be held in India after 2012.
  3. The conference is being hosted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, MoEFCC in close collaboration with the Global Tiger Forum.
  4. Barring China, all other tiger-range countries — Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, India and Nepal — were part of the conference in New Delhi.
  5. The member countries have signed a declaration to double tiger numbers by 2022.

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

By Dr V

Doctor by Training | AIIMSONIAN | Factually correct, Politically not so much | Opinionated? Yes!

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