Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

Apr, 15, 2019

What drives tiger dispersal


  • 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.
Jan, 31, 2019

No Indo-Nepal pact on tigers yet


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


  • 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.
Jan, 30, 2019

India can’t handle more tigers, say experts


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


  • 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.
Nov, 27, 2018

SSB to patrol Dudhwa Tiger Reserve


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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Details of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

Mains level: Preventing trans-boundary environmental crime


Intelligence and information Sharing  

  1. Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Sashastra Seema Bal have joined hands to provide security to Dudhwa forests and its rich wildlife.
  2. A consensus was reached among all security agencies including SSB on the border and the Dudhwa field staff to strengthen the patrolling in and around Dudhwa to check forest and wildlife crimes.
  3. It is aimed for intelligence and information sharing among various security agencies about activities of wildlife and forest criminals.

About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

  1. The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh that stretches mainly across the Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts.
  2. It comprises the Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
  3. It covers an area of 1,284.3 sq.km and includes three large forest fragments amidst the matrix dominated by agriculture.
  4. It shares the north-eastern boundary with Nepal, which is defined to a large extent by the Mohana River.
  5. The area is a vast alluvial floodplain traversed by numerous rivers and streams flowing in south-easterly direction.
  6. In 1987, the Dudhwa National Park and the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary were brought under the purview of the ‘Project Tiger’ as Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.
Aug, 10, 2016

Let's know about Tiger Cell

  1. It was inaugurated recently and will be funded by the NTCA
  2. NTCA: A statutory body under the Environment Ministry
  3. Functions: Assist in population assessment of tigers, law enforcement, wildlife forensics, infrastructural development and mitigation, smart patrolling and advisory role in policy formulation
  4. Y.V. Jhala, a wildlife scientist at the WII will head the Tiger Cell
Aug, 10, 2016

Country gets its first tiger repository

  1. News: The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) at Dehradun will house the country’s first repository on tigers, under its new Tiger Cell
  2. WII & National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) did the work on tiger conservation and population estimation, and in the process have generated a huge database
  3. Tracking: If a tiger skin is recovered at a place then a properly maintained database can be used to check where the tiger might have come from
  4. Development-conservation debate: When a project needs environmental clearance, the spatial data can be used to overlay the project plan on maps and check whether the project would interfere with wildlife habitats that must not be disturbed
Apr, 23, 2016

Shifting tigers to Cambodia from India impractical: experts

  1. Genetically: The proposed reintroduction of Indian tigers in Cambodia seems fine from a genetic perspective
  2. Practically: It may not be practical if the aim is to establish a viable population of tigers in the country
  3. Why? They are more likely to get killed in incidents of conflict with local people rather than survive and establish a population
  4. Issues: Behavioural issues and habitat challenges need to be addressed
Apr, 20, 2016

Biologists question claims on wild tiger population

  1. What? Tiger biologists are not fully convinced of the April 10 report of the World Wildlife Forum and the Global Tiger Forum
  2. Report: The world’s wild tiger population is increasing and on track for doubling in a decade
  3. Why? Use of flawed survey methodologies
  4. Rigorous scientific studies in India, Thailand and Russia demonstrate that tiger recovery rates are slow
  5. Also that it is not likely to attain levels necessary for the doubling of wild tiger numbers within a decade
  6. Impact: It can lead to incorrect conclusions, an illusion of success, and slackening of conservation efforts
Apr, 15, 2016

Indian tigers may replenish Cambodian forests


  1. Context: Combodia is trying to get some tigers from India introduced into its eastern region
  2. Why? Wild Tigers were declared ‘functionally extinct’ recently in Combodia
    World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF): Though there are genetic variations in Asian tigers (Bengal, Malayan, Indochinese and Amur), these from India or Nepal are best suited for the Cambodia plan as they are likely to acclimatise to dry forests
  3. India: Open to the idea, but wants several conditions for the safety of the tigers to be addressed
  4. Risks: Safety, adaptability to the forests, low prey density and lax enforcement of anti-poaching laws
Apr, 12, 2016

Global tiger count rises across the world

  1. Reasons: Improved surveys and enhanced protection in countries such as India, Russia, Nepal and Bhutan
  2. Report: Study undertaken by WWF and Global Tiger Forum (GTF)
  3. Tigers are specified as endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  4. As per the report, national scale surveys have not been undertaken in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
Apr, 08, 2016

Madhya Pradesh loses 16 tigers in last 12 months

  1. Source: As per data registered at the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) official website
  2. Reasons: NGO Prayatna blames the government. But officials say that most of them are natural
  3. The Special Tiger Protection Force has not been formed in MP
  4.  7 out of 16 deaths observed at the Pench Tiger Reserve
Feb, 24, 2016

PM to Inaugurate 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference

  1. News: 3-day Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation will be inaugurated by PM on April 12, 2016.
  2. Context: This is the third such conference on tiger conservation
  3. Pre-Meeting: Environment Ministry held a meeting as a prelude to the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference (3 AMC) on Tiger Conservation
  4. Attended by: Representatives of 4 Tiger Range countries (TRCs) – Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Russia
  5. Relevance: There are only 13 countries that have the pride of having tigers in the wild and tiger-bearing areas in the world.
  6. Way ahead: All TRCs will share their good practices and success stories, thereby contributing towards the cause of conservation of the magnificent species
Feb, 10, 2016

NHAI aims for conservation and protection of wildlife

The NHAI would provide the coordinates of all NH projects to WII for developing a Geological Information System (GIS) enabled map of all NH passing through Protected Areas

  1. The NHAI has taken the lead in creating a platform for dialogue where development goals and conservation needs can be resolved
  2. The NHAI initiated the dialogue with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and WWF, Environment Ministry
  3. The dialogue will provide a structured platform for expeditious consultations with all stakeholders for convergence of development goals with conservation needs
  4. The NHAI propose using space technology for planning and monitoring of conflict zones
  5. Putting in place mitigation measures for environmental protection and conservation along the highways
Jan, 09, 2016

When connectivity kills wildlife

Demand for night travel ban in national parks gets louder.

  1. With a vehicle seemingly as deadly as a gun in tiger reserves, the voices for restrictions on traffic through major and minor roads of the State are getting louder.
  2. Apart from wildlife deaths, highways fragment pristine forests — acting as a barrier to free movement — and contribute to habitat degradation.
  3. Wildlife mortality owing to vehicular collision seems to be increasing, making a lot of roads a prime candidate for mitigation measures and night closures.
  4. Speed-calming measures and re-aligning highways to skirt protected areas must be considered.
  5. With the concept of night-time restrictions yielding discernable result in terms of reduced disturbance for many nocturnal species.
Oct, 31, 2015

Animals caught in the headlights

Sophisticated mapping technology can ensure that roads steer clear of wildlife areas, but the government has been reluctant to address the issue.

What’s the critical issue ?

  • Policy is silent on a critical issue, that of highway stretches passing through forests, particularly, our sanctuaries and national parks.
  • Speeding vehicles plying on these roads cause the deaths of thousands of animals, large and small, every year.
  • A study in 2010 reported that 1,035 roadkills of wildlife recorded in 430 days on a 9.2 km stretch of NH 7, passes through the Pench Tiger Reserve.
  • Highway stretches passing through forests cause severe fragmentation of habitats.

Recommendations for Bypassing forests, Way forward ?

  • A sub-committee constituted in 2013 reiterated the recommendation in the National Wildlife Action Plan 2002-2016.
  • Ministry of Surface Transport must plan roads, highways and expressways in such a manner that all national parks and sanctuaries are bypassed and wildlife corridors avoided.

If ‘Smart Cities’ comes to reality, then why not ‘Smart Highways’ ?

  • For existing highways through forests, bypasses need to retrofit with state-of-the-art, science-based solutions for minimising roadkills.
  • Carefully conceived underpasses, overpasses, flyovers and canopy bridges, taking animal behaviour and traditional wildlife movement patterns into consideration.

Lessons from models around world

  • On Trans-Canada Highway passing through Banff National Park, where an 80 per cent reduction deaths reportedly been achieved, by an extensive system of wildlife underpasses and overpasses.
  • With many developed countries having already shown the way, we have no excuse to lag behind.

Supreme Court caution

  • Recall a significant observation made by the SC, held that our approach to development should be eco-centric, rather than focussing only on what is good for humans.

It’s time to walk the talk, not only by heeding the values enshrined in our Constitution and cultural ethos, but also by incorporating the best practices of eco-centric highways.

Sep, 05, 2015

How the happiest country in the world is saving tigers

  1. With over 72% forest cover, tigers in Bhutan are not threatened by habitat loss unlike in other parts of the world
  2. This month, Bhutan just finished its first tiger census and can proudly tell the world it has more than 100 tigers.
  3. What cannot be overlooked is all that Bhutan has achieved on its own, at a time when the world is grappling with monumental environment problems, from deforestation to climate change.
  4. In the 1970s, Bhutan’s democratic leaders declared in the constitution that a minimum of 60% of the land would be under forest cover.
May, 01, 2015

The only tiger reserve of Bihar - Valmiki [celebrating india]

  1. It houses a Valmiki Ashram after the name of Maharishi Valmiki who was the composer of the great Indian epic, the Ramayana.
  2. The reserve forms the easternmost limit of the Himalayan Terai forest in ‪India.
  3. The reserve lies in the Champaran district of Bihar.
  4. Name of the district has been derived from 2 words Champa and Aranya – meaning Forest of Champa trees.
Apr, 23, 2015

3 new havens for tigers in India

  1. The January census showed an overall rise in numbers of the big cat ergo the Centre is set to form 3 new tiger reserves.
  2. In-principle approval has been accorded by the National Tiger Conservation Authority for the creation of –
  3. Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh, Sunabeda in Odisha and Guru Ghasidas in Chhattisgarh.
  4. The NTCA also accorded final approval to a proposal to declare Kudremukh National Park in Karnataka and Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand as tiger reserves.
Apr, 22, 2015

Uttarakhand gets a new tiger reserve

  1. Uttarakhand, the State with the 2nd highest tiger population after Karnataka, now has a second tiger reserve, besides the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
  2. The Rajaji National Park has now been notified as the Rajaji Tiger Reserve by the Centre.
  3. The tiger reserve (1075.17 sq-km) includes the 255.63 sq-km area of Rajaji National Park’s buffer zone.
  4. The new tiger reserve is expected to bring in more tourists and boost the economy of the State.
Mar, 22, 2015

Conservation goes hi-tech in Bandipur

  1. Bandipur Tiger Reserve – Use of a drone or unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor any unauthorised entry into forests and to detect any forest fire.
  2. They also use an android app called Hejje (pugmark), for coordinating foot patrolling of forest guards and tiger tracking.
  3. Apart from using drone, the authorities have installed sensor-based cameras in the forest.

    Discuss:  Bandipur was established in 1974 as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger, is a national park located in the south Indian state of Karnataka.

Feb, 02, 2015

Tiger survey method draws criticism

  1. NTCA used “Double Sampling” survey approach that brings together data gathered from ground surveys and camera-traps to estimate tiger abundance.
  2. It is said that rather than a four-year nation-wide exercise, an annual camera-trap survey of certain important habitats would be a more reliable approach.
Feb, 02, 2015

Periyar Reserve wins NTCA award

  1. National Tiger Conservation Authority gives a biennial award for encouraging local public participation in managing the reserve.
  2. IEDP (India Eco-Development project) was a community-based eco-tourism initiative. Tourism was supplemented by pepper growing and marketing which was a value addition.
  3. Reserve also played a major role during the Sabarimala pilgrimage which involved a 23-km trek in the dense forests.
Feb, 02, 2015

Canine Distemper Virus endangers tigers

  1. NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) issued urgent note to prevent the outbreak of CDV (Canine Distemper Virus) disease.
  2. The disease is primarily carried on from Dogs to Tigers – Dogs act as the primary reservoir of this virus.
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