India is the world’s only home for Royal Bengal Tigers. It is no surprise then that we are also prime targets for tiger hunters and poachers.

Since the population of these beautiful big cat is spread across this vast country, the responsibility of protecting those falls upon the Central Govt. Project Tiger is the government’s response to this call of duty.

Back in the early 19th century, about 40,000 Royal Bengal Tigers roamed about on the land that was India. Within seven decades, their population dwindled to a mere 1800.

It was not only shocking and alarming but also a reflection of the neglect that was being heaped upon the National Animal of the country. It was an undeniable failure.

In light of the scathing criticism brought on by these stats, the government looked into the issue and initiated steps to revive the tiger population in the country.

A wildlife conservation project was launched on 1 April 1973 that came to be known as ‘Project Tiger’. It was launched from the Jim Corbett National Park of Uttarakhand.

The initiative is funded by the Union Govt. of India and administrated under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is the immediate supervising agency.

DOWNLOAD the complete list of Tiger Reserves in PDF format with the core area, buffer area and total area.

Aim to start Tiger Project in India

The stated aims of Project Tiger were:

  • To identify factors causing reduction in tiger habitats and mitigate them through suitable management practices. The damages already done to the habitat were to be corrected so that the natural ecosystem can be recovered to the extent possible.
  • To maintain a viable tiger population for their economic, ecological, cultural and aesthetic significance

History about the Tiger Project

When Project Tiger was rolled out in 1973, nine reserves encompassing an area of 9,115 square KMs were identified to be brought under special protection. By late 1980s the number of protected reserves went from 9 to 15. The Project was looking over an expanse of 24,700 sq. KMs of forested land.

By 1984, number of tigers present in Project Tiger reserves reached above 1100. In the next decade, more and more tiger habitats were added to the Project Tiger list. By the year 1997, 23 tiger reserves stretched over an area of 33,000 sq. kms were being protected by Project Tiger norms.

However, even as the range of protected areas continued to expand, the number of tigers didn’t increase considerably. Not only were the official stats unimpressive, but environmental activists also claimed even those had been inflated.

The Tiger Census of 2006 projected a feeble 1,411 tigers were left in the country. Since the census methods used were technology-based, the results were more believable. Officials tried new methods to extrapolate site specific densities of tigers. Co-predators and prey base was detected through camera traps while GIS systems were used to track tiger locations.

The results estimated total tiger population at 1,411 individuals ranging from 1,165 to 1,657 adult and sub adult tigers. 2006 Census created a second round of stir and debate around tiger conservation. Protection efforts have increased manifold since then.

Owing to the renewed sincerity to Tiger conservation, the number of tigers consistently increased in the next decade. 2014 Tiger Census estimated 2,226 Bengal tigers in the country. Karnataka was the state with the highest tiger population. The recorded tiger count in the state was 408 as per 2014 tiger census.

Today, Project Tiger looks after 50 tiger reserves spread across 72,749 sq. KMs. of green cover in an effort to conserve the population of the Royal Bengal Tiger.  The tiger numbers are expected to cross the 3000 marks in the awaited results of the 2018 Tiger Census

Management

For sake of efficient management and tiger density based administration, tiger reserves are created on the basis of a ‘core-buffer’ strategy.

A particular expanse of land is identified and marked as the ‘core’ area of the reserve. These areas are kept free of all human activities. It usually has a legal status of National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary. No human activity is allowed inside the core area, including tourism. Even everyday tasks such as grazing and wood collection are banned.

The buffer areas usually surround the core area and are comparatively less frequented by the resident wildlife. Hence, limited human interaction here will not harm their habitat. Hence, it is subjected to ‘conservation-oriented land use’. Certain everyday activities necessary for daily life and living of surrounding villages is allowed.

The buffer area serves twin purposes. One, it serves as habitat supplement to spillover population of wild animals from core area. Two, it becomes livelihood source for surrounding villages and relieves their impact on the core zone.

The plan of action for each tiger reserve is drawn up on following key principles:

  • Elimination of all human interference from the core area and careful rationalisation of activities in the buffer area
  • Limiting the habitat management practices to only repair activities for ecosystem damage
  • Monitoring the floral and faunal changes overtime for research

To counter poaching, wireless communication systems and outstation patrol camps have been deployed within the tiger reserves. Fire protection is ensured through preventive and control measures. Compensatory developmental works have improved water availability which in turn betters vegetation. Lush vegetation cover helps in increasing tiger prey base.

Village relocation is one of the significant steps as well as a hurdle to reserve management in core zones. While some villages relocate voluntarily, most others resist giving up their ancestral dwellings. The issue gets even more sensitive in case of tribal communities.

The Indian Government passed the Forest Rights Act in 2006 which recognized the right of some forest communities to their native forest area. Recognition of this right is bound to have serious implication of tiger conservation efforts, the extent of which is yet to be determined.

List of Tiger Reserves in India

Below are the list of tiger reserves in India which are added under Project Tiger.

Sr.Tiger Reserve
Name
StateEstd. YearApprox. Area
(core + buffer)
1.Bandipur TRKarnataka19731456
2.Corbett TRUttrakhand19731288
3.Kanha TRM.P.19732051
4.ManasAasam19732837
5. Sunderbans West Bengal19732584
6.Melghat TRMaharashtra19732768
7.RanthamboreRajasthan19731411
8.Palamau TRJharkhand 1973 1129
9.SimilipalOdisha19732750
10.PeriyarKerala1978925
11.Sariska TRRajashthan19781213
12.Buxa TRWest Bengal
13.IndravatiChhattisgarh
14.NamdaphaA.P.
15.DudhwaU.P.
16.Kalakad
Mundanthurai
Tamil Nadu
17.Valmiki TRBihar
18.Pench TRM.P.
19.Tadoba TRMaharashtra
20.BandhavgarhM.P.1530
21.Panna TRM.P.1599
22.DampaMizoram988
23.BhadraKarnataka1064
24.PenchMaharashtra741
25.PakkeA.P.1198
26.NameriAssam464
27.SatpuraM.P.2133
28.Anamalai TRTamil Nadu1480
29.Udanti SitanadiChattisgarh1842
30.SatkosiaOdisha964
31.KazirangaAssam1174
32.AchanakmarChattisgarh914
33.Dandeli Anshi Karnataka1097
34.Sanjay-DubriM.P.1675
35.Mudumalai Tamil Nadu 689
36.Nagarahole Karnataka1206
37.Parambikulam Kerala644
38.Sahyadri Maharashtra1165
39.Biligiri
Ranganatha
Temple
Karnataka575
40.Kawal Telangana 2015
41.SathyamangalamTamil Nadu1408
42.Mukandra HillsRajasthan760
43.Nawegaon NagziraMaharashtra1895
44.Nagarjunsagar
Srisailam
A.P.3296
45.AmrabadTelangana2611
46.PilibhitU.P.730
47.BorMaharashtra816
48.RajajiUttarakhand1075
49.OrangAssam492
50KamlangA.P.783

Below is the downloadable State wise list of Tiger Reserves in India (pdf format)

DOWNLOAD the complete list of Tiger Reserves in PDF format with the core area, buffer area and total area.

Some facts about Tigers in India

  • India hosts total of 70% tiger population of the world
  • Total number of tigers in India is 2226 as per the census held in 2014
  • India is the only country to host three prime member of Big Cats Family; Lion, Tiger and Leopards
  • India has more than 100 National Parks and 50 Tiger Reserves