To take on the dwindling number of tigers in the country, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has approved to bring eight new forest reserves under the Project Tiger scheme. The Government of India has approved this with an allocation of Rs.32 crores during the 11th five-year plan period.
The plan of action will be implemented jointly by the respective State along with Central administration. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) took into consideration some long-drawn demand of various State Forest Departments to safeguard the wild habitat before finalizing the name of new tiger reserves.
As it is believed, there are very few tigers left in some of the biggest tiger reserves, this new initiative will give a boost to the conservation of tigers while protecting wildlife habitats from further degradation and fragmentation.
New tiger reserves The name of new tiger reserves include: Anamalai -Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuaries (Tamil Nadu & Kerala), Udanti and Sita Nadi Wildlife Sanctuaries (Chhattisgarh), Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary (Orissa), Kaziranga National Park (Assam), Achanakmar Wildlife Sanctuary (Chhattisgarh), Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi National Park (Karnataka), Sanjay National Park and Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh), and Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamil Nadu.
Project Tiger The centrally sponsored programme has been under implementation since 1973 and prior to the latest announcement, there were 28 tiger reserves in the country. Apart from maintaining the viable tiger population at different biogeographically regions throughout the country, the project also undertake various eco-development initiatives in order to reduce the dependency of the local communities from tiger reserve resources.
Tiger Population As per the last official data announced by the government on February 12 this year, the numbers of big cats left in India is somewhere between 1,165 and 1,657, a steep decline from the last official tiger census. The last major survey in 2002 had numbered it as 3,500. Rise in poaching and loss of quality habitat were also figured out as the prime factors behind the sharp fall in number of tigers.