[Answered] ‘Project Tiger’, which is completing 50 years very soon, requires a reboot. Discuss.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain about Project Tiger’. Also explain why it needs a reboot.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. Tigers are globally listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. ‘Project Tiger’ is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.

‘Project Tiger’:

  • Project Tiger was first initiated in the year April 1, 1973. Project Tiger was administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy.
  • Around the 1970s the tiger count was only one thousand and two hundred, but according to the recent census, it has increased to three thousand. In fact, there has been a thirty per cent rise in the population in the last eight years.
  • The Project Tiger has grown to more than 50 reserves amounting to almost 2.2% of the country’s geographical area.

Due to following reasons ‘Project Tiger’ requires a reboot:

  • Managing the tiger population, giving them safe habitat, avoiding human-tiger conflicts are some of the issues that the project has faced.
  • Politicalised Tiger Task Force leading to the formation of the massive NTCA in 2005. The role of forest bureaucracy should be only to protect tigers from people and people from tigers.
  • The present official monopoly over tiger research, monitoring, nature education, tourism, filmmaking, and even village relocation should end. NTCA needs to be wound up and India should aim for 10,000 tigers.
  • A new wildlife task force with experienced officials, scientists, and enlightened political leaders needs to be set up to ensure a radical overhaul of tiger conservation.
  • As per wildlife conservation activists and former forest officials, there is lack of confidence and trust building between the forest department and the villagers.

We have to create a healthy balance between sustainability and development. Tiger is an umbrella species so its conservation will ensure conservation of other wild animals too.

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