India’s Tiger Population Tops 3,000, Shows Census
The tiger population numbers were made public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mysuru on Sunday, at an event to mark the International Big Cat Alliance conference and the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger.
Points to Ponder:
International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA):
- The International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA) is a forum dedicated to disseminating knowledge about big cat protection and conservation. The IBCA is dedicated to the conservation of the seven principal big cats, which include tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, pumas, jaguars, and cheetahs.
- The IBCA is open to 97 range countries, as well as other interested governments and international organizations, that have these large cats’ native habitat.
- The IBCA engages in a variety of initiatives such as advocacy, partnership, knowledge e-portal, capacity building, eco-tourism, expert group partnerships, and fund tapping.
- The IBCA is organized into three parts: a General Assembly comprised of all member countries, a Council comprised of at least seven but no more than fifteen member countries elected by the General Assembly, and a Secretariat. The IBCA has a five-year term.
- The Government of India initiated Project Tiger in 1973 to safeguard the Bengal tiger population, which was in decline owing to killing and habitat destruction.
- The initiative began in nine tiger reserves spread across the country, totaling 16,339 square kilometers. Since then, the initiative has grown to include 53 tiger reserves spread over 18 states, totaling 75,796 square kilometers.
- Project Tiger’s main goals are to safeguard and conserve the Bengal tiger population, maintain their habitat, and reduce human-tiger conflicts.
- The initiative includes habitat management, protection of the tiger’s prey base, anti-poaching measures, and community participation in conservation activities.
- Project Tiger commemorated its 50th anniversary in 2022, with activities organized across the country to promote awareness about tiger conservation and recognize the project’s accomplishments.
According to the most recent tiger census in India, while the overall tiger population has increased, tiger numbers in the Western Ghats region have decreased. Here are some major points concerning the decline:
- The Western Ghats region is a mountain range that extends parallel to India’s western coast for around 1,600 kilometers.
- The tiger population in the Western Ghats region has fallen, even though “major populations” in the area are said to remain constant, according to the census data.
- The reasons for the reduction in tiger numbers in the Western Ghats are unclear based on the evidence available. However, the census report warns that nearly all of India’s five major tiger zones face difficulties in tiger population expansion due to increasing infrastructure development needs.
- The reduction in tiger numbers in the Western Ghats is worrying because the region is known for its high levels of biodiversity and is a conservation hotspot. The Western Ghats are home to various indigenous flora and wildlife species, including tigers.
- The fall in tiger numbers in the Western Ghats emphasizes the importance of conservation efforts focusing on maintaining and restoring habitats in the region, as well as decreasing threats including poaching, habitat degradation, and fragmentation.