India currently harbors almost 75 percent of the world’s tiger population with Madhya Pradesh boasting the highest number of tigers.
On the occasion of Global Tiger Day celebrated at the Corbett Tiger Reserve on Saturday, a detailed report on the present tiger population in the country was released by Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey.
As per the report, Madhya Pradesh currently harbors 785, the largest population of tiger in India followed by Karnataka (563) and Uttarakhand (560). On the other hand, the tiger abundance within Tiger Reserves across India is highest in Corbett (260), followed by Bandipur (150), Nagarhole (141), Bandhavgarh (135), Dudhwa (135), Mudumalai (114), Kanha (105), Kaziranga (104), Sundarbans (100), Tadoba (97), Sathyamangalam (85), and Pench-MP (77).
In 1973, the Government of India launched Project Tiger, an ambitious, holistic conservation project, aimed at safeguarding the nation's tiger population and preserving biodiversity. Over the past fifty years, Project Tiger has achieved commendable success, making significant strides in tiger conservation.
The first phase of tiger conservation in the 1970s focused on enacting the Wildlife Protection Act and establishing protected areas for tigers and tropical forests. However, the 1980s saw a decline due to extensive poaching. In response, the government initiated the second phase in 2005, adopting a landscape-level approach, community involvement & support, implementing strict law enforcement, and using modern technology for scientific monitoring to ensure tiger conservation. This approach not only led to an increase in the tiger population, but also had several critical outcomes that included the designation of inviolate critical core and buffer areas, the identification of new tiger reserves, and the recognition of tiger landscapes and corridors.
With significant changes in the spatial patterns of tiger occurrence and an increase in unique tiger sightings from 2461 in 2018 to 3080 in 2022, now more than 3/4th of the tiger population is found within protected areas.
India's Project Tiger has made tremendous progress in tiger conservation over the past five decades, but challenges like poaching is still a threat to tiger conservation. Continued efforts to protect tiger habitats and corridors are crucial for securing the future of India's tigers and their ecosystems for generations to come.