Landmark Programs related to Wildlife Protection

Mains Marks Booster     31st July 2023        
Samadhaan

Project Tiger

Introduction:

  • India has only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area but it contributes toward 8 percent to known global biodiversity.  India is the largest tiger range country in the world, the largest Asiatic elephant range country in the world with nearly thirty thousand elephants, and also the largest single-horn rhino country with a population of nearly three thousand.

Tiger Census

According to a recent census of 2022, the Tiger Population in India 2023 is 3,167.  According to the latest census, the total number of tigers in India has seen a remarkable increase of 200, surging from 2,967 to 3,167 over the last four years. 

Achievements and Successes:

  • Increase in Tiger Population: 1,400 in 1973 to over 2,900 in recent years. T
  • Protected Tiger Habitats: Project Tiger has established and managed over 50 tiger reserves, covering an area of about 71,000 square kilometers. 
  • Conservation of Ecosystems: Umbrella species: Tigers serve as umbrella species, Community Engagement: For example, in Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, local villagers are employed as nature guides, creating a positive relationship between conservation and communities.
  • International Recognition: Inspiration: It has inspired similar initiatives in other tiger range countries, such as Nepal, Bhutan, and Russia.
  • To commemorate 50 years of Project Tiger, the Prime Minister launched the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) for the conservation of seven big cats namely Tiger, Lion, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Cheetah, Jaguar, and Puma harbouring our planet.
    • The PM also released the summary report of All India Tiger Estimation (5th cycle). He also released a commemorative coin on the completion of 50 years of Project Tiger. 

International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA)

  • In July 2019, the Prime Minister called for an Alliance of Global Leaders to obliterate demand and firmly curb poaching and illegal wildlife trade in Asia.
  • In this regard, the International Big Cats Alliance is being launched which will focus on the protection and conservation of seven major big cats of the world - Cat Family and Genus, Tiger (Panthera Tigris), Lion (Panthera Leo), Jaguar (Panthera Onca), Leopard (Panthera Pardus), Snow leopard (Panthera Uncia), Cougar (Puma concolor), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)
  • The alliance aims to reach out to 97 range countries covering the natural habitats of Tiger, Lion, Snow Leopard, Puma, Jaguar, and Cheetah. IBCA would further strengthen global cooperation and efforts to conserve the wild denizens, especially the big cats.

Significance of the Alliance

  • The alliance seeks to bring together countries, conservationists, and experts from around the world to collaborate on conservation efforts for these seven big cat species.
  • Through IBCA, India hopes to share knowledge, expertise, and best practices in conserving these species with other countries that have significant big cat populations, such as Indonesia, Brazil, and South Africa.
  • The alliance also aims to facilitate collaborations between governments, NGOs, and the private sector to create sustainable solutions for conservation.

Conclusion: With significant achievements in tiger population recovery, habitat protection, community engagement, and international recognition, the project continues to play a vital role in safeguarding the majestic Bengal tiger. Challenges remain, but with sustained efforts, collaboration, and adaptive strategies, we can ensure the long-term survival and conservation of tigers in India and beyond.

Project Elephant

  • Project Elephant, India's dedicated initiative for elephant conservation, marks its 30th anniversary.
  • Introduction:  Project Elephant was launched in 1992 to address the growing challenges faced by Indian elephants and their habitats.

Achievements and Successes

  • Population Management:  
    • According to the Asian Elephant Specialist Group, the population of Indian elephants has grown from around 20,000 in 1992 to approximately 27,000 in recent years. 
  • Habitat Protection
  • Mitigation of Human-Elephant Conflict: The use of elephant-proof trenches and electric fences protects agricultural lands and minimizes conflict incidents.
  • Elephant Rescue and Rehabilitation: The Wildlife Rescue Centre in Kaziranga National Park has successfully rehabilitated and released many elephants.
  • Awareness and Education

Challenges:

  • Habitat Fragmentation: Approximately 60% of elephant habitats in India are fragmented, posing a risk to their long-term survival (Biological Conservation study).
  • Poaching and Illegal Trade: Fact: The Wildlife Protection Society of India reported 148 cases of elephant poaching between 2015 and 2020, 
  • Lack of Connectivity: The Dandeli-Anshi Elephant Corridor in Karnataka faces hurdles due to encroachments and development activities.

Other Steps Taken for the Conservation of Elephants:

  • Asian Elephant has been given the highest level of protection in India by its inclusion in Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. 
  • They are also included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
  • Plan Bee Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to keep wild elephants away from railway tracks, has won the best innovation award by Indian Railways. 
  • MIKE stands for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme: A site-based system designed to monitor trends in elephant illegal killing and build capacity in sites across Africa and Asia.

Future Perspectives

  • Securing Elephant Corridors, Strengthening Conservation Partnerships, Sustainable Land Use Planning and Community-Based Conservation.

                                                                                                  Extra Marks Fetching component by theIAShub

The Elephant Whisperers is a 2022 Indian documentary film that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards, making it the first Indian film to win an Academy Award in that category at the Oscars.Set in the Mudumalai National Park on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states of India, the documentary also highlights the natural beauty of the location. It explores the life of the tribal people in harmony with nature.

Conclusion:

Project Elephant's 30-year journey showcases India's dedication to conserving its majestic elephants. Achievements in population management, habitat protection, and human-elephant conflict mitigation have been notable. By addressing challenges, implementing effective strategies, and considering future perspectives, we secure elephants' survival and well-being in India, making a valuable contribution to global conservation.

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