Project Tiger is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Government of India which was launched on the 1st of April, 1973. During Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s tenure. Kailash Sankhala was the first director of Project Tiger. The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage forever represented as close as possible the diversity of ecosystems across the distribution of tigers in the country.
The project’s task force visualized these tiger reserves as breeding nuclei, from which surplus animals would migrate to adjacent forests. Funds and commitment were mastered to support the intensive program of habitat protection and rehabilitation under the project. The government has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.
During the tiger census of 2006, a new methodology was used extrapolating site-specific densities of tigers, their co-predators and prey derived from camera trap and sign surveys using GIS. Based on the result of these surveys, the total tiger population was estimated at 1,411 individuals ranging from 1,165 to 1,657 adult and sub-adult tigers of more than 1.5 years of age. Owing to the project, the number of tigers increased to 2,226 as per the census report released in 2015. State surveys have reported a significant increase in the tiger population which was estimated at around 3,000 during the 2018 count.
Project Tiger Objectives
- Reduce factors that lead to the depletion of tiger habitats and to mitigate them by suitable management. The damages done to the habitat shall be rectified so to facilitate the recovery of the ecosystem to the maximum possible extent.
- Ensure a viable tiger population for economic, Scientific, Cultural, Aesthetic and Ecological values.
- It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats.