Tiger Reserves in India
Project Tiger will complete 50 years in the year 2023.
Tiger reserves are protected areas that are established to conserve and protect the endangered tiger species. These reserves are home to tigers, their prey, and other flora and fauna.
There are a total of 54 Tiger reserves in India; the Latest 54th Tiger reserve of India is the Ranipur Tiger Reserve in the Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, declared on 19th Oct 2022.
According to the latest Tiger Census of 2018-19 conducted in 20 states across India, 2967 Tiger live in India. The population growth rate of Tiger is 6% per annum compared with the tiger census of 2006.
About Project tiger
- A Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, launched in 1973.
- Initially launched in 9 Tiger reserves (TRs) in different states of India.
- Provides central assistance to tiger range States for in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves
- Implementing Agency: Statutory body National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), established through Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006.
- Overarching supervisory/coordination role and approves the Tiger Conservation Plan prepared by the State Governments.
- Funding pattern: Centre provides financial assistance to States of 60% and 50% for expenditure on all non-recurring items and expenditure on recurring items respectively.
- Northeastern and Himalayan States are provided 90% central assistance in both cases.
Activities undertaken under project Tiger.
- Core buffer strategy for TRs: Core areas are kept free of all human activities, a co-existence agenda adopted in buffer and fringe areas with landscape approach.
- NTCA recently banned new construction in tiger reserves’ core areas.
- NTCA conducting 5th cycle of assessment using application M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers Intensive-Protection & Ecological Status): Uses GPS to geotag photo-evidence.
- Independent monitoring and the evaluation of tiger reserve by developing Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) Framework as per international standards.
- Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) deployed in several TRs for focused anti-poaching operations.
- Technological advancements: E-Bird project uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for Surveillance and Monitoring.
About Indian Tiger or Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera Tigris)
- Tiger species native to India.
- A flagship species of India, declared as the National Animal of India.
- Habitat: Largest population is in India, smaller groups in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.
- India is home to more than 70% of the world’s tiger population.
- Nearly 35% of tigers in India are found outside tiger reserves.
- India is home to 15 species of wild cats, accounting for 40% of all species found globally. Unfortunately, nine of these fifteen cats are endangered, vulnerable, or threatened.
- The worldwide tiger population has declined by over 95 per cent in the past 150 years, putting these magnificent creatures at risk of extinction.
- Distribution of Tiger population in India: Habitats ranging from the high mountains, mangrove swamps, tall grasslands, to dry and moist deciduous forests, as well as evergreen and shola forest systems.
- Madhya Pradesh has the maximum number of tigers followed by Karnataka and Uttarakhand.
- Significance of tiger conservation: Both an Umbrella species and a Keystone species (has a disproportionately large effect on its natural environment relative to its abundance).
Recently declared Tiger reserves
Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve
- Rajasthan Government has notified the Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve.
- It is the 4th Tiger Reserve of Rajasthan after Ranthambore, Sariska and Mukundra; and 52nd tiger reserve of India.
- Location: Bundi district and in part in Bhilwara and Kota districts.
- Serves as a tiger corridor between Ranthambore Tiger Reserve and Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve.
- The topography varies from gentle slopes to steep rocky cliffs from flat-of hills of Vindhya to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravallis.
- River: Mez, a tributary of Chambal river.
- Forest Type: Dry Deciduous Forest
- Fauna and Flora: Golden jackal, Indian wolf, leopard, striped hyena, chinkara, antelope, Chital, Sambar, Nilgai etc.
53rd Tiger reserve of India
The combined area of Guru Ghasidas National Park (Sanjay National Park) and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary of Chhattisgarh have been designated as India’s 53rd Tiger Reserve by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
Location The Guru Ghasidas National Park is situated in the northern region of Chhattisgarh, spread across the districts of Koriya and Surguja. It spans an area of 2898.70 square kilometers and lies on the Chhotanagpur plateau and a part of the Baghelkhand plateau, sharing its borders with Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
Forest Type: The park’s moist deciduous forest is predominantly dominated by Sal, with an elevation ranging from 300 to 1200 meters above sea level. Despite being highly fragmented and exposed, the park hosts a diverse range of flora and fauna. The forest area is largely degraded due to activities such as increased cultivation, forest land conversion, and grazing.
Fauna and Flora:The vegetation in the park mostly consists of mixed deciduous forest with teak, sal, and bamboo trees, while the wildlife includes various species such as the Tiger, Leopard, Chital, Nilgai, Sambar, Four-horned Antelope, and more. Despite being home to 36 villages within the core area, the park’s natural beauty and rich wildlife make it an important tourist destination in Chhattisgarh.
Ranipur Tiger Reserve (RTR)
- UP cabinet approved the notification of state’s 4th (Dudhwa, Pilibhit and Amangarh are remaining 3) and India’s 54rd tiger reserve in Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary in Chitrakoot district.
- Location: Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh.
- Forest Type: Tropical dry deciduous forests.
- Fauna and Flora: Tiger, leopard, bear, spotted deer, sambhar, chinkara, reptiles and other mammals.
Q.1 Which is latest Tiger reserve in India?
Ans:- India currently has 54 Tiger reserves. The most recent addition is the Ranipur Tiger Reserve, located in the Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, which was declared on October 19th, 2022. The combined area of Guru Ghasidas National Park (Sanjay National Park) and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary was designated as India’s 53rd Tiger Reserve by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. Prior to that, the Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve in the Bundi district of Rajasthan became the 52nd Tiger Reserve and the fourth in Rajasthan. In 2021, Meghamalai in Tamil Nadu was declared the 51st Tiger Reserve in India.
Q.2 What is National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)?
Ans:- The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body that operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change in India. It draws its authority from the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, as amended in 2006.
The authority is composed of various members, including the Minister in charge of the Ministry of Environment and Forests who serves as the Chairperson, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment and Forests as Vice-Chairperson, three members of Parliament, the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and other members.
The main mandate of the National Tiger Conservation Authority is to implement and monitor Project Tiger, which involves ground protection initiatives for tigers. The authority also engages in science-based monitoring of tigers and their habitat, utilizing the latest technological tools. Additionally, it provides financ ial and technical support to tiger reserves in India.
India launched Project Tiger in 1973 with the aim of conserving its national animal, the tiger. The project monitors 54 tiger reserves in the country, covering approximately 2.21% of its geographical area.
Q.3 What is Project Tiger?
Ans:- Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change that provides central assistance to the tiger States for the conservation of tigers in the designated tiger reserves across India. The implementation of the project is monitored by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
Tiger reserves in India are declared by the NTCA, which consists of two components – the Core Area and the Buffer Area. The Core Area has the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, and an exclusive tiger conservation agenda is followed in this area. On the other hand, the Buffer Area is a mix of forest and non-forest land and is managed as a multiple-use area. In this area, an inclusive people-oriented agenda is followed.
Q.4 Which state has maximum tiger reserves in India?
Ans:- Madhya Pradesh boasts of 6 tiger reserves, including Pench Tiger Reserve which is shared with Maharashtra, making it tied with Maharashtra in terms of the number of tiger reserves. However, the tiger population in Madhya Pradesh is the highest in India.
Q.5 Smallest Tiger reserve in India?
Ans:- Bor tiger reserve in Maharashtra with size of 138 sq km.
Q.6 Largest Tiger reserve in India?
Ans:- Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) with size of 3,728 km2. In state of Andhra Pradesh is the Largest Tiger reserve in India.