Big Numbers For The Big Cat

A new census revealed India's tiger population rose by 200 in four years to 3,167 in 2022
India celebrated 50 years of Project Tiger on April 1
India celebrated 50 years of Project Tiger on April 1

India added 200 more tigers in the past four years to its total population of the big cats, raising the number of tigers to 3,167 in 2022, up from 2,967 in 2018. On April 1, India celebrated 50 years of Project Tiger. To mark the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) 2021-2022, a once-in-four-year survey conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in association with state forest departments and the Wildlife Institute of India.

Coexistence of Ecology and Economy

During the event, the Prime Minister emphasized that India has conserved the tiger and provided them with an ecosystem to thrive. He praised India's unique achievements in wildlife conservation, with the country contributing 8 per cent of the known global diversity despite occupying only 2.4 per cent of the world's land area. He also credited the coexistence of ecology and economy for the increase in tiger numbers. While the current estimate does not provide data on the proportion of tigers outside protected areas, the authors of the census report cautioned that almost all of the five significant tiger zones face challenges to the growth of the tiger population due to increasing demands from infrastructure development.

Protecting the Big Cats

In July 2019, the Prime Minister called for an 'Alliance of Global Leaders' to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia. India launched the IBCA to focus on protecting and conserving seven primary big cats of the world. These species include the Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah, with a membership of the range of countries harbouring these species. India launched 'Project Tiger' on April 1, 1973, to promote tiger conservation, initially covering nine tiger reserves spread over 18,278 sq km. There are now 53 tiger reserves spanning over 75,000 sq km (approximately 2.4 per cent of the country's geographical area).

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