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TIGERS – An Asset to The Ecosystem

What is the present status of tiger population in India?

1. Tigers are considered an asset to the ecosystem.

2. In various parts of the world the tiger’s population is now dwindling due to habitat loss and poaching.

3. In India, tiger population has increased to around 33% (2026 in 2014 to 2967 in 2018) according to the latest census released.

4. India has become one of the safest habitats for tigers around the world.

Which factors have contributed towards tiger protection in India?

1. India has dedicated a lot towards tiger conservation since the launch of “Project Tiger” in 1973.

2. There are 50 tiger reserves which are governed by Project Tiger and administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority in India.

3. These reserves are spread across the length and breadth of the country. Examples – Corbett (Uttarakhand), Manas (Assam), Pench (Madhya Pradesh), etc.

4. Other protected areas like national parks and sanctuaries have also helped in conserving the tigers.

5. However, some pockets of regions in North east and Eastern India need to do better to conserve more tigers.

6. An exact estimation of number of tigers is important to conserve them.

7. India has come a long way from counting pugmarks to using camera-traps and other sophisticated technologies in counting the tigers.

How important are Tigers for the ecology?

1. Tiger is a top carnivore and helps to control the population of other species in the forest ecosystem.

2. Tigers control the population of herbivores like deer and pigs, which would otherwise lead to loss of a lot of vegetation.

3. They are also a symbol of culture.

Why does the Government face issues in protecting tigers?

1. Poaching: Parts of tigers are sold at high cost across the world. To prevent poaching, protected areas need to be secured in a better way.

2. Man-Animal conflict: Comprehensive plans and supports should be provided to communities which live in areas near to tiger populations.

3. Habitat destruction: Developmental needs of humans need to look at the needs of wildlife habitat also. Corridors, that permit tigers to migrate from one protected area to another need to be secured properly for their free movement.

4. Diminishing prey base: More robust conservation plans need to made to conserve prey animals for tigers.

Where to focus?

1. To address the issues of tiger conservation, people from various communities, civil society groups, various institutions, etc. all need to work together towards it.

2. The increase in population in India is a good sign, and still a lot more can be done to further increase the number.

3. Issues like land-use change, building of dams in freshwater and climate-change are affecting the species in ecosystem and need to be addressed to conserve them.