Project Tiger - Page 1&2:
Development Of Project Tiger | 3:
Initial Successes | 4:
An Alarming Reversal |
5: Project Tiger Today
Within the reserves, certain areas were designated as breeding grounds (core areas) and these were out of bounds to the public. It was hoped that as tiger populations increased any surplus animals would migrate to neighbouring forests. To encourage this to happen, routes were established away from public view which allowed easy access to other forests. Wide buffer zones protected the breeding areas and public access to these was limited.
The grazing of domestic cattle was halted, as was the harvesting of forestry. Entire villages were moved from the lands of their forefathers to areas where the people would no longer conflict with the wildlife. Most went with little complaint. Waiting for them were new houses, more land, and community facilities.
Ranthambhore was one of the first to be cleared of cattle and the other reserves followed soon after.
Vehicles for different ecosystems:
Assorted vehicles were donated to enable transport around the various ecosystems. Speed boats covered the swampy Sundarbans, while camels went to arid Ranthambhore. Elephants for the rain forests of Manas, bullock carts for Melghat. Diesel-powered jeeps went everywhere.
The carcasses of dead animals were left to rot, left to feed the scavengers and fertilise the soil. A 'hands off attitude' was taken. Terms like 'National Park' were dropped in favour of 'Tiger Reserve'.
To begin with, this plan was a great success and the tiger count showed an increase of animals in the wild. Numbers went from approximately 1,800 at the commencement of the programme, to more than 4,000 during the first 11 golden years of Project Tiger.
The loss of Mrs Ghandi:
After Mrs. Ghandi's assassination in 1984 the accuracy of the figures was questioned.
It now seems that the true upswing in tiger numbers may have been considerably lower. Pug marks had been too heavily relied on for census counts, and this we now know to be a very inexact method. Concern for their jobs had led some forest officials to artificially inflate the number of tigers under their care; the logic was more tigers meant better job security.
Despite all of this there is little doubt that there was a significant improvement in the situation of the tiger during the best years of Project Tiger.
With Thanks To Aditya Singh