Experts Seek Strategies To Save India’s Tigers from Extinction

Washington -- Wildlife experts and government officials from India and the United States met at India’s famed Ranthambore tiger reserve in early November to discuss ways to counter the factors driving one of the world’s most iconic animals toward extinction.Poaching and shrinking habitat are chief causes of tiger losses. Figures published by the Wildlife Institute of India indicate that the Indian tiger population is dwindling rapidly. There are possibly as few as 1,300, down from an estimated 3,600 five years ago.

“It’s something that the Indian government and our government are very dedicated to trying to solve, but in a way we are working against a ticking time clock here. With the numbers of tigers that are left in the wild, it is something that we really have to get a solution for very quickly,” said Assistant Secretary of State Claudia McMurray, who attended the three-day workshop at Ranthambore. She urged participants to act before it is too late.Poverty and affluence are intersecting root causes. The demand for tiger parts comes chiefly from manufacturers of traditional Chinese medicines, for which wild tiger parts are prized ingredients. Tiger skins are increasingly popular in Tibet, where they are worn as status symbols. Growing Chinese affluence has resulted in greater demand.

Impoverished poachers in tiger ranges rely on killing tigers for a living. Human population growth in range states and resulting habitat encroachment is another contributing factor.

The workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, was an initiative of Ambassador David C. Mulford. Visits to the historically significant park awakened his interest in tiger conservation.

After reviewing information about Ranthambore poaching rings, he saw a possible solution. “The men understand that they are poaching on a declining population and their future is not at all bright if that population disappears,” he said while in Washington recently.

The workshop was meant to assemble key people to discuss a multifaceted program that could effectively address Ranthambore’s issues.“Really the only way we are going to make progress, is for people to put away their parochial differences and to focus on the one thing that unifies us all … the welfare of the animals themselves,” Kaestner said.The last two days of the workshop were devoted to training forest guards in forensic techniques and other enforcement skills.It was a pivotal decision for tigers,” said Judy Mills, director of the Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking (CATT). “The 171 parties agreed by consensus that tigers should not be bred in captivity for sale of their parts and derivatives.” A farmed tiger costs more than a wild one, and the latter is more coveted for medicinal purposes. Conservation experts think farming will accelerate the extinction of tigers in the wild.Chinese traditional medicine practitioners at CITES testified in favor of maintaining the ban on domestic sale of tiger products, and have embraced alternatives, Mills said, adding that conservationists hope that China will make the ban permanent.The United States has partnered with India on wildlife conservation issues for decades, most recently to establish forensic wildlife laboratories where trafficked animal parts may be identified and traced, and poachers apprehended.

A press release on the workshop is available on the State Department Web site.


Source-http://www.america.gov/st/env-english/2007/November/20071116142802mlenuhret0.2053644.html

About Tigers

Although scientists no longer classify tigers into subspecies, these names are commonly used to describe "races" of tigers from different regions that have slightly different physical characteristics. There were 8 subspecies of Tiger at the beginning of the 20th century. 3 are now extinct, leaving 5 existing subspecies. Here they are...

Bengal (subspecies tigris)
The Bengal tiger is the most populous type, with between 2500 and 4700 remaining in the wild. Most live in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans in eastern India and Bangladesh. Some also live in the neighboring countries Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal . There are about 333 Bengal tigers in captivity. Males typically weigh around 500 pounds; the females about 300. All white tigers are male Bengals and have a double recessive gene that causes the coloration. Official status: ENDANGERED.





Indochinese (subspecies corbett)
Indochinese tigers are centered in Thailand, but also in surrounding countries - Myanmar, southern China, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and peninsular Malaysia. They are smaller and darker than Bengal tigers, averaging around 400 pounds for males and 300 for females. Males average about 9 feet long and females about 8 feet in length (not counting the tail). Numbers in the wild are estimated to be in the range 1227-1785. There are about 60 in zoos. Official status: ENDANGERED.




Sumatran (subspecies corbett)

The smallest and darkest subspecies, Sumatran tigers are reddish and have closely spaced stripes. The males average 250 lbs. About 400-500 remain in the wild, exclusively on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. About 210 of this subspecies are captive around the world. Official status: ENDANGERED.








Amur/Siberian (subspecies altaica)
These guys are the largest of the big cats, weighing in at 675 pounds and stretching a full 11 feet. The heaviest Siberian Tiger on record was 1025 pounds (Guiness Book of World Records). Only about 360-470 exist in the wild and there are roughly 490 captive. Their habitat is mostly Northeastern Russian. Despite their size, they have been known to jump as far as 33 feet. Official status: ENDANGERED. For more on Siberian tigers, see www.siberian-tigers.com - a general resource of information with numerous links to other Siberian tiger sites.




South Chinese (subspecies amoyensis)

Unfortunately, there are perhaps only 20-30 South Chinese tigers left in the wild and 47 in Chinese zoos. They are found in central and eastern China. China joined CITES in 1981 and passed the Wild Animal Protection Law of the People's Republic of China in 1988. Official status: ENDANGERED.







Javan (subspecies sondaica)
The Javan tiger once roamed the Indonesian island of Java. The last one was seen in 1972 and is now believed to be extinct.









Caspian (subspecies virgata)
The Caspian tiger once ranged from Turkey to Central Asia, including Iran, Mongolia, and Central Russia. They went extinct in the 1950's.









Bali (subspecies balica
)
The Bali tiger existed on the island of Bali. The last one was killed in 1937. There are no existing photos of a live Bali tiger.

Battle to save Tigers


Among the most charismatic creatures on earth and a powerful emblem of India, the Bengal tiger now stands on the brink of extinction. When tiger numbers dwindled to only two thousand in 1972, India responded by banning hunting, outlawing trade in tiger skins and creating safe havens through India’s Project Tiger. For a time tigers flourished, but then the situation worsened. Familiar tigers began to disappear, quantities of pelts were being offered through illegal markets and scientists questioned the accuracy of tracking and counting methods. Why didn’t this disturbing evidence provoke a fresh campaign to save the tiger?
Efforts to save the tiger from extinction will be stepped up this year after the World Wide Fund for Nature placed the animal at the top its list of the most endangered species.

Conservationists say there are just 3,200 tigers left in the world as the future of the species is threatened by poachers, destruction of their habitat and climate change.

The world population of tigers has fallen by 95 per cent in the past century.

The WWF said it intends to intensify pressure to save the Panthera tigris by classifying it as the most at risk on its roster of 10 critically endangered animals.

It hopes to increase patrols and work with politicians to eradicate poaching and thwart illegal trade of tiger skins and body parts.

The wildlife charity also aims to work with governments to encourage more responsible forest management and compensation for farmers whose livestock are killed by tigers to avoid them being hunted.

Diane Walkington, head of species programme for the WWF in Britain, said: “This year has been designated the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations and so we have created a list of 10 critically important endangered animals that we believe will need special monitoring over the next 12 months.

“This year will also be the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and so we have put it at the top of our list. It will have special iconic importance.

“Of course, there are thousands of other species on the endangered list. however, there is particular importance in selecting a creature such as the tiger for special attention.

“To save the tiger, we have to save its habitat – which is also home to many other threatened species.

“So if we get things right and save the tiger, we will also save many other species at the same time.”

Also on the WWF’s endangered list are bluefin tuna, whose population has been devasted by overfishing, and leatherback turtles which are slaughtered by fishing vessels.

Tiger numbers have dwindled due to a combination of activities by humans.

Demand for their skins, still regarded as luxury items in some countries, has left them at the mercy of poachers who have increasingly targeted the animals. The threat is compounded by the market for their body parts, which are deemed to hold medicinal properties in some cultures.

Poachers also hunt many species which are tigers’ prey, diminishing their natural food supply, and forcing them to attack farmers’ livestock instead.

At the same time, destruction of forests for timber, agriculture and road building has forced tigers into ever smaller areas where they are increasingly vulnerable.

Climate change also poses a growing threat – 70 per cent of the Bengal tiger’s remaining habitat in the Sunderbans mangrove forest may be lost within 50 years due to rising sea levels.

Of its nine main subspecies, three – the Bali, Caspian and Java tigers – are now extinct, while there has been no reliable siting of a fourth, the South China tiger, for 25 years.

Only the Bengal, Amur, Indo-Chinese, Sumatran and Malayan tigers remain but their the numbers have been reduced to a few hundred per species, save the Bengal and Indo-Chinese.

The wildlife charity also aims to work with governments to encourage more responsible forest management and compensation for farmers whose livestock are killed by tigers to avoid them being hunted.

Diane Walkington, head of species programme for the WWF in Britain, said: “This year has been designated the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations and so we have created a list of 10 critically important endangered animals that we believe will need special monitoring over the next 12 months.

“This year will also be the Chinese Year of the Tiger, and so we have put it at the top of our list. It will have special iconic importance.

“Of course, there are thousands of other species on the endangered list. however, there is particular importance in selecting a creature such as the tiger for special attention.

“To save the tiger, we have to save its habitat – which is also home to many other threatened species.

“So if we get things right and save the tiger, we will also save many other species at the same time.”

Also on the WWF’s endangered list are bluefin tuna, whose population has been devasted by overfishing, and leatherback turtles which are slaughtered by fishing vessels.

Tiger numbers have dwindled due to a combination of activities by humans.

Demand for their skins, still regarded as luxury items in some countries, has left them at the mercy of poachers who have increasingly targeted the animals. The threat is compounded by the market for their body parts, which are deemed to hold medicinal properties in some cultures.

Poachers also hunt many species which are tigers’ prey, diminishing their natural food supply, and forcing them to attack farmers’ livestock instead.

At the same time, destruction of forests for timber, agriculture and road building has forced tigers into ever smaller areas where they are increasingly vulnerable.

Climate change also poses a growing threat – 70 per cent of the Bengal tiger’s remaining habitat in the Sunderbans mangrove forest may be lost within 50 years due to rising sea levels.

Of its nine main subspecies, three – the Bali, Caspian and Java tigers – are now extinct, while there has been no reliable siting of a fourth, the South China tiger, for 25 years.

Only the Bengal, Amur, Indo-Chinese, Sumatran and Malayan tigers remain but their the numbers have been reduced to a few hundred per species, save the Bengal and Indo-Chinese.

Need to saveTigers

At the turn of the 20th century, according to estimates, India probably had many thousand tigers in the wild.

In 2002, based on a census using the pug mark technique, this number was 3,642.

As per the monitoring exercise by Wildlife Institute of India in association with National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Government of India, using camera traps, in 2008 we were left with only 1,411 tigers. This number is so small that they will be gone soon if we don’t wake up to the crisis.


The tiger is not just a charismatic species or just another wild animal living in some far away forest.


If the tigers go extinct, the entire system would collapse.
For e.g. when the Dodos went extinct in Mauritius, one species of Acacia tree stopped regenerating completely. So when a species goes extinct, it leaves behind a scar, which affects the entire ecosystem. Another reason why we need to save the tiger is that our forests are water catchment areas. 

Therefore, it’s not just about saving a beautiful animal. It is about making sure that we live a little longer as the forests are known to provide ecological services like clean air, water, pollination, temperature regulation etc. The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator which is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore, the presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem. The extinction of this top predator is an indication that its ecosystem is not sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.
Conservationists say there are just 3,200 tigers left in the world as the future of the species is threatened by poachers, destruction of their habitat and climate change.

The world population of tigers has fallen by 95 per cent in the past century.

The WWF said it intends to intensify pressure to save the Panthera tigris by classifying it as the most at risk on its roster of 10 critically endangered animals.

It hopes to increase patrols and work with politicians to eradicate poaching and thwart illegal trade of tiger skins and body parts.

The wildlife charity also aims to work with governments to encourage more responsible forest management and compensation for farmers whose livestock are killed by tigers to avoid them being hunted.

Not only is tiger a beautiful animal but it is also the indicator of the forest's health. Saving the tiger means we save the forest since tiger cannot live in places where trees have vanished and in turn secure food and water for all.

If we make sure tigers live, we have to make sure that deer, antelope and all other animals that the tiger eats (its prey base) live. To make sure that these herbivores live, we must make sure that all the trees, grass and other plants that these prey animals need for food are protected. In this way, the whole forest gets saved! Saving the tiger means saving its entire forest kingdom with all the other animals in it.

Also forests catch and help store rainwater and protect soils. In this way we protect our rivers and recharge groundwater sources. Areas with less trees lead to floods, killing people and destroying homes. It takes away the precious soil, leaving behind a wasteland. The soil jams up our lakes and dams, reducing their ability to store water. By destroying the tiger's home, we not only harm tigers, but also ourselves.

The tiger thus becomes the symbol for the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the foodchain. This is why we sometimes call the tiger, an apex predator, an indicator of our ecosystem's health

With just 1410 tigers left in India as per the last count, the government is worried on how to save the national animal. And thus from cellular phone companies to potato chip manufacturers, every other big brand is being roped in to promote the cause.- a cause that is one of the prime concerns of the nation right now.

But why do we save the tigers? This articles talks about the reason to behind the worldwide movement to save the big cats. In simple words this piece reasons out why you and me, the common man should be interested in saving the tigers. Not only is the tiger a beautiful animal but it is also the indicator of the forest's health.

Saving the tiger means we save the forest since the tiger cannot live in places where trees have vanished and in turn secure food and water for all. If we make sure tigers live, we will have to make sure that deer, antelope and all other animals that the tiger eats or its prey base live. To make sure that these herbivores live, we must make sure that all the trees, grass and other plants that these prey animals need for food are protected. In short, in this way the whole forest gets saved! Saving the tiger means indirectly saving the forests and in turn saving the environment that is reeling under global warming due to massive deforestation.

Felling trees takes away the precious soil, leaving behind a wasteland. The soil jams up our lakes and dams, reducing their ability to store water. By destroying the tiger's home, we not only harm tigers, but also ourselves. The tiger thus becomes the symbol for the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the food-chain. This is why we sometimes call the tiger, an apex predator and an indicator of our ecosystem's health. In short, saving the tiger means saving the earth. Save tigers, save our earth!

Steps to save Tigers

Over the past century the number of tigers in India has fallen from about 40,000 to less than 4,000 (and possibly as few as 1,500). Relentless poaching and clearing of habitat for agriculture have been the primary drivers of this decline, though demand for tiger skins and parts for "medicinal" purposes has become an increasingly important threat in recent years.
However the news is not all bad. Research published last year showed that if protected and given sufficient access to abundant prey, tiger populations can quickly stabilize. With India's large network of protected areas and continued funding from conservation groups like the Wi
ldlife Conservation Society, the findings provide hope that tigers can avoid extinction in the wild.
The biggest threat to tigers in India is depletion of their chief prey like deer, wild pigs and wild cattle by local people. As a result although about 300,000 square kilometers of tiger habitat still remains, much of it is empty of tigers because there is not enough food for them to survive and breed successfully.

One important thing that you can do is learn as much about tigers as you can, and teach others about the threats they face. You can do reports at school, or just talk to your friends and family. As people learn more about tigers, they will try harder to protect them.


Another thing that you can do is raise money for a tiger conservation organization – on your own, or as a school or scout-group project. Although most of us cannot go out and protect wild tigers ourselves, we can support some of the organizations and researchers who are working to save tigers. Save The Tiger Fund helps the world's best tiger conservationists to work throughout the world.
For one thing, don`t buy tiger products like tiger fur or teeth because people kill tigers to sell these products. Also, help protect the envirorment, because if we don`t stop hurting the environment, th
e only tigers left in the world would be in captivity. By not cutting trees of the forests and when we see people cutting trees we should stop them

The tiger is not just a charismatic species. It’s not just a wild animal living in some forest either. The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator and is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore the presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the well being of the ecosystem. The extinction of this top predator is an indication that its ecosystem is not sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.

If the tigers go extinct, the entire system would collapse. For e.g. when the Dodos went extinct in Mauritius, one
species of Acacia tree stopped regenerating completely. So when a species goes extinct, it leaves behind a scar, which affects the entire ecosystem. Another reason why we need to save the tiger is that our forests are water catchment areas.

When we protect one tiger, we protect about a 100 sq. km of area and thus save other species living in its habitat. Therefore, it’s not just about saving a beautiful animal. It is about making sure that w
e live a little longer as the forests are known to provide ecological services like clean air, water, pollination, temperature regulation etc. This way, our planet can still be home to our children.


1.)Spread the word: Go out loud and tell others that tigers are dying and that they need our help. You can form forums (or join existing ones) on the web for discussions and exchange views on tiger conservation. Reach school going children. WWF can help you in this regard.

2.)Be a responsible tourist: The wilderness is to be experienced and not to be disturbed and polluted. Follow the forest department guidelines when visiting any wilderness area, tiger reserve in particular. As the saying goes ‘Don’t leave thing anything behind except foot steps, and don’t take anything except memories.’
Write to the policy makers: If you are really concerned and feel that more needs to be done for tiger conservation, then write polite letters to the decision makers - the Prime Minister, the Minist
er for Environment and Forests or even your local MP.


3.)Informing the nearest police station: If you know of any information on poaching or trade of illegal wildlife. You can also contact TRAFFIC- an organisation fighting the powerful poachers and pass on the information to them.

4.)Reducing pressure on natural resources:
By reducing the use of products derived from forests, such as timber and paper.

5.)Encouraging Students:the best way is to create more opportunities in the real world for trained conservationists and conservation scientists. At present, both in the Government and the non-governmental sectors, the conservation field filled with people who are professionally untrained and are as a result offering and implementing "seat of the pants" solutions, many of which don't work. Secondly, conservationists must learn to independently function as small NGO groups without looking for government doles and jobs.

6.)
Institutions and people Scientists who were closely involved in managing tigers at the local level, Hemendra Panwar of India and Hemanta Mishra of Nepal, pointed out an important lesson more than a decade ago: unless local community needs are met, conservation of the tiger will not succeed and protected areas will perish. Therefore, conservation programmes

7.) Must reconcile the interests of people and tigers. In most situations, a sustainable tiger conservation strategy cannot be achieved without the full participation and collective action of individual rural households whose livelihoods depend on rights of access and use of the forests where tigers live.

8.) Technologies for conservation of resources There already exists a wide range of technologies and practices in forest and watershed management and agriculture, both traditional and new, for conservation of resources. The biological processes that regenerate forests and make agriculture less damaging to tiger habitats take time to become established

9.)Use of external institutions Institutions, such as NGOs, government departments, and banks, can facilitate processes by which local people develop their sense of ownership and commitment. When little effort is made to build local skills, interest, and capacity, people have no interest or stake in maintaining structures or practices once the incentives for conservation stop. Success hinges on people’s participation in planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, which leads to the formation of new institutions or the strengthening of existing ones

10.)Conservation of tiger habitat and of prey In many areas peripheral to tiger habitat, grazing lands for livestock have been converted to crops or degraded by excessive use; livestock is of poor quality and of poor productivity; wood for fuel and building has been exhausted; and sources of income are limited. The rehabilitation of the natural resource base of local people is essential if they are not to seek their requirements in protected areas. This requires ecodevelopment with the support and cooperation of specialized government organs and the non-governmental conservation community.

11.) Educate the locals
People living near the forests need to be educated about the importance of tigers in terms of ecosystem. They need to be told that if there will be no tigers there will be no forests as all the grass eaters will devour the forests.


12.) Stop poaching and don't encourage poachers
Sale of tiger skin and other body parts is banned. So if you find somebody hunting tigers, report them to your local police station or even the forest officials. They will take care of the poachers.


13.) Severe punishment for poachers
Ensure that the poachers are not allowed to go easily. Make sure that they receive severe punishment for their crime.


14.) Ban the goods made of tiger skin
Please do not use goods made of tiger skin. Also please don't use the medicine made out of tiger's body parts. On an average one wild tiger is killed each day for profit killing.


15.) Protect forests
In order to save tigers forests need to be protected. Apparently the species are becoming extinct because of the loss of their natural habitat.


16.)  Donate money to tiger conservation organisations
You can also donate some amount to tiger conservation organisations who are constantly striving to fund money for their research as well as educational programmes on tigers.
These are few of the ways that you can save the tigers from becoming extinct. There were eight species of tigers on the planet earth. However, three of them are already extinct save the rest five. The three species that are extinct now are Bali tigers, Javan tigers and Caspian tigers.

Local institutions and people Scientists who were closely involved in managing tigers at the local level, Hemendra Panwar of India and Hemanta Mishra of Nepal, pointed out an important lesson more than a decade ago: unless local community needs are met, conservation of the tiger will not succeed and protected areas will perish. Therefore, conservation programmes must reconcile the interests of people and tigers. In most situations, a sustainable tiger conservation strategy cannot be achieved without the full participation and collective action of individual rural households whose livelihoods depend on rights of access and use of the forests where tigers live.

- Technologies for conservation of resources There already exists a wide range of technologies and practices in forest and watershed management and agriculture, both traditional and new, for conservation of resources. The biological processes that regenerate forests and make agriculture less damaging to tiger habitats take time to become established

- Use of external institutions Institutions, such as NGOs, government departments, and banks, can facilitate processes by which local people develop their sense of ownership and commitment. When little effort is made to build local skills, interest, and capacity, people have no interest or stake in maintaining structures or practices once the incentives for conservation stop. Success hinges on people’s participation in planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, which leads to the formation of new institutions or the strengthening of existing ones

- Conservation of tiger habitat and of prey In many areas peripheral to tiger habitat, grazing lands for livestock have been converted to crops or degraded by excessive use; livestock is of poor quality and of poor productivity; wood for fuel and building has been exhausted; and sources of income are limited. The rehabilitation of the natural resource base of local people is essential if they are not to seek their requirements in protected areas. This requires ecodevelopment with the support and cooperation of specialized government organs and the non-governmental conservation community.






Aircel Launches Social Campaign 'Save Our Tigers'

AIRCEL, India’s 5th largest GSM mobile service provider initiated the campaign towards a social cause in association with WWF-India to help save our tigers. Aircel “Save Our Tiger” is the latest campaign where it intends to draw attention towards dwindling numbers of tigers across the planet and bring forward the seriousness of losing tigers from our planet.
Even companies like Aircel ,IBM,Nokia and many more are working to save tigers...than why cant we???


Project Tiger

Tiger sightings have become quite rare these days in India, reason being the Tiger killings because of its multitude of medicinal or magical properties that is why tiger trade is very profitable. Genuinely the tiger skin is not fashionable but the smuggling of Tiger fur coats and rugs are not difficult for the impoverished hunters. Tiger in IndiaEven after the bans made by the government warning not to gather even wood from the former hunting grounds, poaching of tigers continue.

Still efforts are continuously made to preserve these magnificent predators from extinction.

Project Tiger is the most famous wildlife conservation project of India, which was lunched in 1972 to protect the diminishing population of Indian tigers. As recently as 1970, the hunting of tigers was legal in India and this majestic animal was hunted by the erstwhile royals and elites for pleasure and its beautiful skin. According to various estimates, during the 1950s and early 1960s, over 3,000 tigers lost their lives to trophy hunters. In the beginning of the 1970s, the tiger population in India was estimated to be around 1,800, shocking and jolting the concerned authorities to formulate an immediate plan to save Indian tigers and the result was the launch of Project Tiger in 1972.
India is home to the largest number of wild tigers in the world and shelters approximately 60% of the world's wild tiger population. Initially 9 Tiger reserves covering an area of 16,339 sq km were chosen for Project Tiger. Corbett National Park was the first national park of India to be covered under Project Tiger on April 1st, 1973. Now as many as 27 Tiger Reserves, covering an area of37,761 sq km, are included in Project Tiger.
The main aim of Project Tiger was to create a safe haven and ideal environmental conditions for the survival and growth of tigers and its prey to ensure maintenance of a viable population of this wonderful animal in the country. From its inception in 1972, Project Tiger was aimed at saving the tiger and to identify and eliminate the factors responsible for the decline of tiger population in the country. The factors recognized by Project Tiger included habitat destruction, forestry disturbance, loss of prey, poaching and competition with local villagers and domestic animals.


http://www.indiabuzzing.com/wp-content/uploads/project-tiger-reserve.jpgThe Project tiger was launched in India in 1972 as conservation programme for saving the Indian Tiger Population. Some of the best examples of this programmes success can be seen in the national parks situated in the high Himalayan region, to the mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans and the thorny scrubs of Rajasthan. But more wildlife conservation laws and awareness among people is still required to make Indian sanctuaries a safe haven for tigers.
Project Tiger Scheme

Project Tiger Scheme has been under implementation since 1973 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Government of India.
The aim of Project Tiger is to ensure a viable population of tiger in India for economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve areas of biological importance as natural heritage. Project tiger scheme includes wildlife management, protection measures and site specific eco development to reduce the dependency on tiger reserve resources.

At the turn of the century, the estimated tiger population in India was placed at 40,000 but the first ever all India tiger census in 1972 shockingly revealed the existence of only 1827 tigers. Before that a ban on tiger hunting was imposed in the year 1970 and in 1972 the Wildlife Protection Act came into force. Thereafter a 'Task Force' was set up to formulate a project for tiger conservation.

With the launch of Project tiger in 1973, various tiger reserves were created in different parts of the country on a 'core-buffer' strategy. Under this strategy, the core areas were freed from all human activities and the buffer areas were to have 'conservation oriented land use'. Initially, 9 tiger reserves were established in different States during the period 1973-74. These nine Tiger reserves were Manas (Assam), Palamau (Bihar), Similipal (Orissa), Corbett (U.P.), Kanha (M.P.), Melghat (Maharashtra), Bandipur (Karnataka), Ranthambore (Rajasthan) and Sunderbans (West Bengal).

The main achievements of this project are excellent recovery of the habitat and consequent increase in the tiger population in the reserve areas, from a mere 268 in 9 reserves in 1972 to 1576 in 27 reserves in 2003.


Objective

The main objective of Project Tiger is to ensure a viable population of tiger in India for scientific , economic , aesthetic , cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time, areas of biological importance as a natural heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people. Main objectives under the scheme include wildlife management, protection measures and site specific ecodevelopment to reduce the dependency of local communities on tiger reserve resources.

Initially, the Project started with 9 tiger reserves, covering an area of 16,339 sq.km., with a population of 268 tigers. At present there are 27 tiger reserves covering an area of 37761 sq.km., with a population of 1498 tigers. This amounts to almost 1.14% of the total geographical area of the country. The selection of reserves was guided by representation of ecotypical wilderness areas across the biogeographic range of tiger distribution in the country. Project Tiger is undisputedly a custodian of major gene pool. It is also a repository of some of the most valuable ecosystem and habitats for wildlife.

Tiger Reserves are constituted on a 'core-buffer' strategy. The core area is kept free of biotic disturbances and forestry operations, where collection of minor forest produce, grazing, human disturbances are not allowed within. However, the buffer zone is managed as a ‘multiple use area’ with twin objectives of providing habitat supplement to the spill over population of wild animals from the core conservation unit, and to provide site specific ecodevelopmental inputs to surrounding villages for relieving their impact on the core. Except for the National Parks portion if contained within, normally no relocation of villages is visualised in the buffer area, and forestry operations, NTFP collection and other rights and concessions to the local people are permitted in a regulated manner to complement the initiatives in the core unit.

Project Tiger has put the tiger on an assured course of recovery from the brink of extinction, and has resurrected the floral and faunal genetic diversity in some of our unique and endangered wilderness ecosystem. The population of tigers in the country has increased significantly to about 4000 from less than 2000 at the time of launch of the project.

The effective protection and concerted conservation measures inside the reserves have brought about considerable intangible achievements also, viz. arresting erosion, enrichment of water regime thereby improving the water table and overall habitat resurrection. Labour intensive activities in tiger reserves have helped in poverty alleviation amongst the most backward sections, and their dependence on forests has also reduced. The project has been instrumental in mustering local support for conservation programme in general.

Approach:

* Elimination of all forms of human exploitation and disturbance from the core and rationalisation of such activities in the buffer.
* Limitation of the habitat management to repair damage done by man.
* Researching facts about habitat and wild animals and carefully monitoring changes in flora and fauna.

.

List of Tiger Reserves in India
Bandhavgarh
Bandipur
Bhadra
Bori-Satpura
Buxa
Corbett
Dampa
Dudhwa
Indravati
Kalakad-Mundanthurai
Kanha
Manas
Melghat
Nagarjunasagar
Namdapha
Pakhui-Nameri
Palamau
Panna
Pench (Madhya Pradesh)
Pench (Maharashtra)
Periyar
Ranthambore
Sariska
Similipal
Sundarbans
Tadoba-Andhari
Valmiki

Why should we save Tigers??

Not only is tiger a beautiful animal but it is also the indicator of the forest's health. Saving the tiger means we save the forest since tiger cannot live in places where trees have vanished and in turn secure food and water for all.

If we make sure tigers live, we have to make sure that deer, antelope and all other animals that the tiger eats (its prey base) live. To make sure that these herbivores live, we must make sure that all the trees, grass and other plants that these prey animals need for food are protected. In this way, the whole forest gets saved! Saving the tiger means saving its entire forest kingdom with all the other animals in it.

Also forests catch and help store rainwater and protect soils. In this way we protect our rivers and recharge groundwater sources. Areas with less trees lead to floods, killing people and destroying homes. It takes away the precious soil, leaving behind a wasteland. The soil jams up our lakes and dams, reducing their ability to store water. By destroying the tiger's home, we not only harm tigers, but also ourselves.

The tiger thus becomes the symbol for the protection of all species on our earth since it is at the top of the food chain. This is why we sometimes call the tiger, an apex predator, an indicator of our ecosystem's health


Our survival is dependent on the natural environment as it provides us with clean air, food and water. Tigers are at the apex of the food pyramid and are indicators of a healthy environment. The ‘Web of Life’: all things in nature, including humans, are interrelated - changing any component of the web will impact others. In saving the tiger we are protecting the entire ecosystem and all its inhabitants.


We should save tigers because:

1. A home for tigers = a home for others



With just one tiger, we protect around 100 sq km of forest.

To save tigers, we need to protect the forest habitats across Asia where they live. And by saving these places, we will not only allow tigers to roam freely, but also many other endangered species that live there and form the very thing that makes our planet unique – biodiversity.



2. Healthy tiger populations = healthy ecosystems



As a large predator, the tiger plays a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems.

These ecosystems supply both nature and people with fresh water, food, and many other vital services – which means by saving the tiger, we are helping people too.

How's that for a win-win deal?


3. Tigers are a lifeline for many people

Tigers can directly help some of the world’s poorest communities.

For one thing, where tigers exist, tourists go. And where tourists go, money can be made by communities with few alternatives for making a living.

Tiger conservation projects also help provide other alternative livelihoods for rual communities, that are not only more sustainable but which can raise income levels too.


4. The tiger is a survivor

The tiger has evolved over thousands of years.

Now this big cat is being trapped, skinned, and pushed out of its home. And yet it clings to survival, barely, in a few patches of forest scattered across Asia.

That's enough of a reason to give this species a fighting chance to make it into the next decade.



Some Good news !!!!!

Every now and then we come across news reporting Poaching of Tigers, Arrests of Poachers and siezing skins and other body parts of the Tiger.. The census of 2007 made it very clear that poaching still is done on a large scale in the most protected forests of India.. This may be our last chance to Save the Last Surviving Royal Bengal Tigers in our Country.. The final figures of the census should not only be taken seriously but as a WARNING.. !!!!


It is never too late to start.. The result of the census came as a Shock to most in our Country.. With only 1411(The figure of 2007) Tigers left, It is high time when steps for Tiger Conservation be taken up more seriously..


I came across a news article from Reuters where the Indian Conservationists say that its too late to Save The Tiger now..
But the Tigers themselves have not lost hope.. There has been growth in the Tiger numbers in the last month.. On May 16, A Tigress in Pench Tiger Reserve gave birth to four cubs.. Five days later another Tigress gave birth to three cubs.. On May 25 another Tigress in Pench had a litter of three cubs.. Two more Tigresses are expected to litter in the coming days.. Official figures say that there are 22 cubs ( aged 15 days - 2 years old) in the Park.. There are a few Tigresses in Bandhavgarh National Park who are also expected to litter soon.. The Banbie Female in Bandhavgarh gave birth to cubs a few days back.. The Churbehra Queen is also expected soon.. When the Tigers have not lost hope.. Why should we.. Long Live the Tiger.. !!!!


The Elephant Show has also been stopped in Pench Tiger Reserve to provide security to the Cubs and their Mothers.. The Elephants are being used for protecting Tigers.. Four camps have also been set up in the Park.. 30 Tiger Protection Force Personnel, 17 ex-servicemen and over 300 daily wagers are maintaining security of the Reserve..

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