Project Tiger was first launched at the Corbett National Park in Uttaranchal. In the year 1973-74 there were nine national parks that were declared as the part of the Project Tiger. That were Manas, Bandipur, Ranthambore, Palamau, Similipal, Corbett, Kanha, Melghta, and Sundarbans. While the number increased to twenty nine in 2006, falling in 17 different states around the country.
The total area which is covered by these Project Tiger Reserves is approximately around 38, 620 km2 , which is 1,17 % of the total geographical area of the country. With the view to provide the legal backing to the scheme of the Project Tiger, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, was even set up for the protection of Tigers in the country.
The Authority consists of eight experts (who holds experience in the wildlife conservation and welfare of people including the tribes), and three members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha). The Authority prepares the annual report, which is laid in the Parliament along with the Audit Report.
Principle guidelines that were implemented for each Tiger Reserves around the country are as follows :
- Elimination of all kind of human activities and biotic disturbance from the core areas.
- Put restrictions on the habitat management to only repair those parts which have been damaged due to the human and other disturbances.
- Carrying out the research on the wildlife and floral and faunal changes from time to time.
Project Tiger was the most powerful conservation strategy undertaken, for the protection and survival of the graceful Big Cats, Tigers 'The pride of India'. Until 1970's tigers were killed by the erstwhile Rajas and Maharajas for the sake of pleasure and fun. She was Indira Gandhi who put an end to the haunting of tigers and the export of its skin. Since its projection many initiatives have been taken by the Indian government, which turned out to be the most successful programmes, as the population of tigers increased from 1,827 in the 1970's to 3,600 in the 1990's.
Danger to the Tigers Paradise :
India is the home to the largest number of tigers in the world. But there are several threats to the paradise of the tigers. According to the estimate of the World Wide Fund (WWF), the population of Tigers has dropped to 95% in the last century. Among all the factors, poaching and shortage of prey is the biggest factor behind the dwindling population of Tigers. In the countries like China, there has been an constant demand of tiger's bones and its other body parts for the making of traditional medicines. On the other hand increasing human activities in the jungles and the loss of natural habitats are the matter of concern.
News of Importance :
According to the current news there are plans to establish eight new Tiger Reserves in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Assam. The government of has alloted Rs 600 crore under the scheme. There are also plans to rehabilitate the denotified tribes or communities involved in the traditional haunting and crub all the unlawful activities in the reserves. After all Project Tiger is the real hope of the survival of this endangered specie.