Established in 1973, the tiger reserves of India operate under Project Tiger, overseen by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, a division of the Government of India. These reserves have been designated across 50 protected areas up until 2018. Notably, in 2022, the 53rd tiger reserve was proclaimed within Uttar Pradesh’s Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary, marking the state’s third tiger reserve.
India’s Dominance in Tiger Population
India boasts an astounding 80 percent of the world’s tiger population. The tiger count in India, which was around 1,411 in 2006, witnessed remarkable growth, reaching 3,167 by 2022. This increase in India’s tiger population significantly contributed to the global tiger count surge – from 3,159 in 2010 to 3,890 in 2016 – as reported by the World Wildlife Fund and Global Tiger Forum.
Conservation Goals and Operations
Spanning 71,027.1 km², India’s declared reserves fall under the responsibility of state forestry departments. The primary objective is to ensure the sustainability of Bengal tigers, which hold scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural, and ecological significance. This endeavor aims to safeguard biologically vital areas as a national heritage, catering to educational and societal benefits.
Role of Project Tiger and Tiger Reserves
Project Tiger, managed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, supervises 53 of India’s tiger reserves. Remarkably, India accommodates 80% of the world’s tiger population. The tiger count witnessed steady growth: 1,411 in 2006, 1,706 in 2010, 2,226 in 2014, 2,967 in 2018 and 3167 in 2022.
Legal Framework and Reserve Modifications
As per section 38V(1) of the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972, a Tiger Reserve is established when the state government acknowledges the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s recommendation. Any alteration to the reserve’s boundaries necessitates approval from the National Board for Wild Life and the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The de-notification of a tiger reserve by a State Government is permissible only in cases of public interest with consent from the aforementioned authorities.
Critical Tiger Habitats and Their Protection
Designated under the Wild Life Protection Act, Critical Tiger Habitats (CTH) serve as the core of tiger reserves. These regions are legally mandated to be safeguarded to preserve tigers, while also respecting the rights of Scheduled Tribes and other forest inhabitants. State governments establish CTH after consulting expert committees formed for this purpose.
List of all Tiger Reserves of India
|S No.||Name of Tiger Reserve||Year||State||No. of Tigers||Area|
|18||Pench||1992–93||Madhya Pradesh||43 (contiguous with Maharashtra)||292.85|
|24||Pench||1998–99||Maharashtra||35 (contiguous with Madhya Pradesh)||257.26|
|33||Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve||2008–09||Karnataka||5||1300|
|39||Biligiri Ranganatha Temple||2010–11||Karnataka||68||539.52|
|51||Srivilliputhur – Megamalai||2021||Tamil Nadu||14||1016.57|
|53||Guru Ghasidas National Park and
Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary
|54||Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary||2022||Uttar pradesh|
Significance of India’s Tiger Reserves
The 20th century has marked a distressing decline in tiger numbers, with a staggering 93% reduction in their original habitat. India, however, stands as a refuge for over 70% of the global tiger population. Tigers hold immense cultural value in India and play a pivotal role as top predators, crucial for upholding ecosystem diversity and vitality. Conservation and safeguarding of tiger habitats yield diverse ecosystem benefits, encompassing the preservation of water sources, mitigation of soil erosion, and augmentation of ecological services such as pollination and water table stability.
Challenges Confronting India’s Tiger Reserves
Poaching continues to be a grave impediment to tiger conservation, driven by the lucrative market for tiger products. This threat encompasses a spectrum of individuals, from professional poachers to local hunters and farmers. Climate change and escalating global temperatures have coerced tigers and other species to relocate in response to altered habitats. The specter of natural disasters, exemplified by extensive forest fires, poses additional hazards. Human encroachment for agriculture, infrastructure expansion, and grazing compounds the predicament. Transportation infrastructure growth, including roads and railways, further endangers tiger habitats.
Conservation Blueprint for Tiger Reserves in India
Section 38.v.(3) of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 underscores the need for a comprehensive Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP) for each designated area. This plan encompasses staff development, habitat preservation, and ecologically sound land use. The goals encompass maintaining viable populations of tigers, co-predators, and prey species, fostering dispersal habitats and corridors, and reconciling tiger protection with conventional forestry activities.
Among the 50 tiger reserves, 35 TCPs have secured approval from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), while others are in the process of preparation or review.
Tiger Conservation Foundation’s Role
Mandated by section 38X of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, the establishment of a Tiger Conservation Foundation (TCF) within each state hosting tiger reserves serves to facilitate management and support conservation endeavors. The TCF operates with the aim of conserving tigers, and biodiversity, and engaging local communities in eco-development initiatives in alignment with approved management plans, state and national regulations, and through multi-stakeholder collaboration.
Which state has the highest number of Tigers in 2022?
The state with the highest number of tigers is Madhya Pradesh at about 526 as per the latest counting. It is also the state with the highest number of tiger reserves.
When was the first tiger reserve set up in India?
The first tiger reserves of India were set up in 1973 and are governed by Project Tiger. Jim Corbett National Park is located in the district of Nainital, Uttarakhand and it is the First Tiger Reserve in India.