Saving the Tiger

  • IASbaba
  • January 17, 2022
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(Sansad TV: Perspective)

Jan 6:– Saving the Tiger – 


  • GS-3- Biodiversity and Conservation

Saving the Tiger

Context: India has registered biggest margin of drop in tiger numbers in a decade in the year 2021. 

  • 127 big cats have fallen prey to everything from poachers and accidents to natural causes with man-animal conflict last year.
  • India is home to a third of the global tiger population and the country’s success in saving the big cat is crucial to global efforts to protect their numbers. 

Current Numbers

  • At present, India has around 75% of tiger population and its source areas amongst the 13 tiger range countries in the world. 
  • 2.24% of country’s geographical area is spread out in 51 tiger reserves in 18 States. 

Protection Status

  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
  • IUCN Red List: Endangered.
  • CITES: Appendix I

Save the tiger, save the forests

The tiger is not only our national animal but a symbol of the ecosystem. 

  • As a top predator, wild tigers play an important role in maintaining the harmony of the planet’s ecosystems. Tiger happens to be at the pinnacle of the eco-system triangle. If the tiger disappears, the entire eco-system gets affected and our flora and fauna is hit hard.
  • In conserving the tiger, we are not just saving a particular species, but our endangered ecosystem. The large range needed by tigers leads us to focus on landscape connectivity and conservation, which is also beneficial for the entire biosphere.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of Indian tigers was around 40,000; after Independence, tigers were killed mercilessly and the 1972 tiger put their number at less than 1500.
  • Every year, more than 100 tigers die due to several reasons (like health factors or poaching). They move between different habitats, and therefore, although protected areas are fundamental for their survival, connecting landscape are also essential. These areas often have limited protection as many development, mining and extraction projects are coming up in such regions. These activities not only diminish our forest areas but give additional opportunities to poachers to kill and hunt tigers and leopards.

Efforts taken by the Government

India was the first country in the world to champion the cause of conservation of the tiger and its natural habitats. 

  • Project Tiger, launched in 1973, was one of the largest conservation initiatives of its kind globally. Starting with nine tiger reserves in 1973, there are now around 50 tiger reserves in India covering an area of nearly 40000 sq. kms.
  • International Tiger Day is celebrated on July 29 every year to raise awareness about the dwindling population of the Tiger. It is the anniversary of the agreement of Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in 2010.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) (earlier ProjectTiger) has launched the M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status), a mobile monitoring system for forest guards.
  • India’s 2018 Tiger Census had made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s largest camera trapping wildlife survey.

Why is a tiger census needed?

The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation

  • The numbers reflect the success or failure of conservation efforts. 
  • This is an especially important indicator in a fast-growing economy like India where the pressures of development often run counter to the demands of conservation.

National Tiger Conservation Authority

  • Established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force which was constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for its constitution. 
  • It is responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger to protect endangered tigers.
  • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) felicitated some of the forest frontline workers as ‘BaghRakshaks’, to recognize their outstanding contribution towards the protection of tigers and forests during the pandemic. 


“Do not cut down the forest with its tigers and do not banish the tigers from the forest. The tiger perishes without the forest and the forest perishes without its tigers” (Udyogaparva).

There is an emergent need to protect the forests and other natural habitats including the tiger reserves of India. We must engage local communities to ensure the survival of tigers. A strong message to protect our ecosystem through tiger conservation should reach the masses.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Discuss various issues related to Tiger conservation
  2. Relationship between survival of tigers and effects on climate change
  3. Discuss the status of tiger population in India. What are the most severe threats to tigers in India?

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