India’s Tiger Census, marking 50 years of ‘Project Tiger,’ has revealed a 6.74 percent increase in the number of tigers in the country, from 2,967 in 2018 to 3,167 in 2022.
The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, released the government’s vision for tiger conservation during the event held in Mysuru, Karnataka. He also launched the International Big Cats Alliance (IBCA), which will focus on the protection and conservation of seven major big cats worldwide, including tigers, lions, leopards, snow leopards, pumas, jaguars, and cheetahs.
Modi praised India’s achievement in tiger conservation, stating that almost 75 percent of the world’s tiger population now resides in India, and tiger reserves in the country span 75,000 square kilometers.
Project Tiger was launched on April 1, 1973, by the Central government of India to promote the conservation of tigers, which were rapidly dwindling in numbers. Reports suggest that India’s tiger population declined from 40,000 at the time of independence to below 2,000 by 1970 due to hunting and poaching.
Speaking to PTI, Additional Director General of Forests SP Yadav, who is also the member secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), talked about the future of Project Tiger and emphasized the need to maintain a viable and sustainable tiger population based on a scientifically calculated carrying capacity. Yadav stated that it is essential to avoid increasing the tiger population at a fast pace, which could lead to conflicts with humans.