Tiger the national animal of India is infact in a place where its real safety is even not valued. Such is the issue that there has been numbers dwindling of the headcount of the national animal. The situation has not been abated till now which is evident form the fact that the country lost 64 of its tigers in 2014 according to statistics provided by Tigernet, the official database of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. In 2013, the number of tigers lost was 63.Now this really called for some actions which materialized in the Formation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
Strengthening tiger conservation in the country by an oversight through guidelines, based on
Appraisal of tiger status,
Ongoing conservation initiatives and
Recommendations of specially constituted Committees.
As evident from the mandate of the National Tiger Conservation Authority the role of the organisation has been immense in the following respects:-
The rise in the number of tiger population: This was evident from the tiger census in January showed an overall rise in numbers of the big cat. By setting up more and more tiger reserves to be precise three more in Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh, Sunabeda in Odisha and Guru Ghasidas in Chhattisgarh the protected areas for the growth of the tigers has been addressed.
But a more holistic approach is still required as more and more developmental projects are increasing, the areas under forest cover is decreasing hence the need to take all stakeholder on board and designing a more comprehensive roadmap is the need of the hour.
Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger: Has enabled the providing funding support to tiger range States, for in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves, and has put the endangered tiger on an assured path of recovery by saving it from extinction.
But this also calls for more and more international collaborations to devise a comprehensive and sturdy mechanism for conservation. The WWF and other national and independent organisations experience can be taken on board for achieving the desired goal of conservation of tiger population.
Fostering accountability of Centre-State in management of Tiger Reserves: This has led to the proper coherence of actions of the central and state government in the initiatives taken. Implementing a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with tiger States, linked to fund flows for effective implementation of tiger conservation initiatives.
Here also needs a correction if the tiger is a national animal the management of the tiger population should be an exclusive ambit of the central govt cause the present set-up of the system may cause centre and state at loggerheads which will ultimately result in delay, hence a single authority in the form of the centre only will be more good. New initiatives:
e-Eye: The Electronic Surveillance in Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR). A Pilot Initiative of the NTCA. The system comprises of a series of short range infra-red and long range night vision thermal camera stations, mounted on high towers located at strategic locations to cover sensitive areas. e-Eye� is a very good example of how scientific tools can be harnessed to strengthen field level protection regimes.
Monitoring System for Tigers � Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPES).The system consists of two components a) field based protocols for patrolling, law enforcement, recording wildlife crimes and ecological monitoring, b) a customized software for storage, retrieval, analysis and reporting. The system reduces the response time of managers to detrimental events like poaching or habitat degradation
India has a bilateral understanding with Nepal on controlling trans-boundary illegal trade in wildlife and conservation, apart from a protocol on tiger conservation with China.
A protocol has been signed in September, 2011 with Bangladesh for conservation of the Royal Bengal Tiger of the Sunderban.
A sub-group on tiger and leopard conservation has been constituted for cooperation with the Russian Federation.
A Global Tiger Forum of Tiger Range Countries has been created for addressing international issues related to tiger conservation.
All said and done there is still a long way to go to attaining tiger conservation to its fullest but the earnest approach by the NCTA has indeed provided direction to the same. The different ministers of the govt should come on board and achieve the goal of the NCTA to take the image of India as country safe for Tigers.
Amresh Chandra Jena