Posted September 5, 2013

The 2011 census report released by the Indian government puts the number of tigers at 1,706, which shows an increase in the number of tigers by about 295. But even this is no moment to rejoice; the tiger, now reduced to a few hundred, once used to stand tall at no less than 40,000 until the time of independence. But the frequent man-tiger conflicts, hunting and poaching have led to the decline in its numbers. The government has started a number of measures including the setting up of tiger reserves under Project Tiger, but a few more steps would help this animal steady its numbers.


An extremely important measure and one of the prime reasons for the success of Project Tiger; more tiger reserves in India would keep humans away from fledgling tiger populations. Distance from human populace would have a lasting impact on the security of the tiger population as it would lead to a reduction in the instances of man-tiger conflicts. Cases of tigers attacking humans, when they stray from their natural course, strikes terror in humans and vindictive actions often result in casualties and create a vicious environment against conservation methodology employed by government. Tiger reserves in India are already doing a wonderful job in saving tigers and are also educating people about the animal. Therefore, such measures will have a lasting impact on tiger conservation. Some of the famous tiger reserves in India are: Kanha Tiger Reserve, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Satpura Tiger Reserve and Panna Tiger Reserve, as well as 35 others.


Crimes against tigers are not new. Tiger poachers usually target this animal for its body parts and skin which are then sold in grey markets at huge premium costs. Asian medicines also use tiger parts and since the tiger is now an endangered species, collectors of tiger parts rely on poachers. Poachers then milk this demand and make hay. As a result Project Tiger, besides setting up tiger reserves in India, calls for extensive monitoring of the tiger population. Electronic monitoring, research on tiger population behaviour patterns, monsoon patrolling and the formation of anti-poaching squads comprising of ex-army men or other services must be undertaken to provide security for the national animal of India.


Inbreeding is another major challenge that policy makers need to consider while setting more tiger reserves in India. Often, tigers mate within their close knit group which eventually leads to genetic disorders that in the long run may prove disastrous. It is extremely important that tigers be moved in and out of reserves (trans-location) so that their blood stream gets fresh blood and replenishes the genetic pool.


Tigers are wild beasts and they protect their territories and females with ferocity. Such behaviour aggravates fights between different tigers and may turn extremely fatal if injuries are not treated in time. Often, tigers also kill tiger cubs to make females mate with them. This again leads to unwanted loss of precious tiger life in tiger reserves in India. Hence, tiger reserves in India must formulate a clear plan to divert marauding tigers from venturing too close to lactating mothers or their cubs.


Human population is one of the prime reasons for dismal tiger numbers. The burden of human population ultimately leads to pressure on flora and this in turn harms fauna. Human actions lead to deforestation for agriculture, housing or developmental projects which lead to massive exodus and killing of wildlife. This must be stopped; but even in tiger reserves in India human presence must be covert. Even the monitoring of tigers should be done in such a way that the animal feels at ease and neither be afraid nor get excited by human presence.

These measures would go a long way in protecting our precious tiger population. Tiger reserves in India, especially the Kanha, Corbett and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves are doing their hardest to save the tiger. But more really needs to be done to protect the ‘roar of the wild’. The tiger brand must shine brighter; it has to, if Indian wildlife has to survive.

To have the chance to see these magnificent animals and more native Indian wildlife up close, take a look at our wildlife tour holidays of India.

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