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Role of National Tiger Conservation Authority, Discuss.

Introduction

Tiger is one of the top predator and very important species for maintaining the ecological balance of our environment. Tiger population count increased from 1411 in 2006 to 2226 in 2014. National Tiger Conservation authority earns lot of credit for this achievement. It is a statutory body setup under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006 and functions under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Project Tiger is Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change launched in 1973. It mandated to provides funding support to tiger range States, for in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves. Presently, there are 48 tiger reserves in India and NTCA fosters accountability of Center-States in management of tiger reserves. It ensures legal compliance of Project tiger and addresses livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tiger Reserves. Undoubtedly, the efforts of NTCA has succeeded in bringing the endangered tiger to path of recovery from extinction.

Power and Function of NTCA

NTCA derives its power and authority from Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Following are the roles played by NTCA to strengthen the tiger conservation initiatives.

  1. Approves the reserve specific tiger conservation plan prepared by the State Government.
  2. Assess various aspects of sustainable ecosystem and prevents any unsustainable land use such as, mining, industry and other projects within the tiger reserves.
  3. Ensures compliance of standards for tourism activities and guidelines for project tiger in the buffer and core area of tiger reserves.
  4. Provide measures for addressing conflicts of men and wild animal and emphasize on co-existence in forest areas outside the National Parks, sanctuaries or tiger reserve.
  5. Provide information on protection measures including future conservation plan, estimation of population of tiger and its natural prey species, status of habitats, disease surveillance, mortality survey, patrolling, reports on unexpected happenings and such other management aspects as it may deem fit.
  6. Approve, co-ordinate research and monitoring on tiger, co-predators, prey habitat, related ecological and socio-economic parameters and their evaluation.
  7. Ensure that area linking tiger reserves, protected area with another protected area or tiger reserve are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses, except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board for Wild Life and on the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority.
  8. Facilitate and support the tiger reserve management in the State for biodiversity conservation through eco-development and people�s participation and to support similar initiatives in adjoining areas consistent with the Central and State laws;
  9. Ensure critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for better implementation of the tiger conservation plan;
  10. Facilitate ongoing capacity building program for skill development of officers and staff of tiger reserves.
  11. Perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 with regard to conservation of tigers and their habitat.
  12. Laying down annual audit report before Parliament.

As the tiger population increases in India role of NTCA will become crucial in addressing human-wildlife conflicts. It works on eco-development for local people in buffer areas and voluntary relocation of people from core/critical tiger habitats. NTCA will have to balance between public interest and tiger conservation. Relocating villagers and forest dwellers and constraining tigers within reserve for mutual coexistence will be a challenge. Educating local population about tiger conservation is always important and effective. Anti-poaching activities must be strengthen and hunting and encroachment related offences must be punished. NTCA should proactively monitor the compliance of tourism guidelines in protected area. Encroachment of tourism industry and pollution should be checked. NTCA should maintain status quo and enhance its day to day monitoring.

Conclusion

Major threats to tiger�s existence comes from poaching, illegal bush meat consumption, and habitat loss due to ever increasing demand for forested lands. NTCA was successful in its efforts to protect endangered tiger and their habitat amelioration. NTCA efforts has shown good result till date and helps in achieving sustainable development.

Rishi Ranjan Singh