India holds over half the world's tiger population. According to the latest tiger census report released on February 12, 2008 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the current tiger population stands at 1,411 (i.e. ranging between a minimum of 1,165 to a maximum of 1,657). The results include figures from 16 tiger states and are exclusive of Jharkhand and Sunderbans. The state of West Bengal was covered only partially (i.e. North Bengal) during the census.
The Tiger Census 2008 report has classified the tiger occupied forests in India into 6 landscape complexes; namely (a) Shivalik-Gangetic Plains, (b) Central Indian Landscape Complex (c) Eastern Ghats, (d) Western Ghats, (e) North-Eastern Hills and Bhramaputra Plains, and (f) Sunderbans.
The strategy for tiger conservation in India revolves around the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Between the mid 1970's and mid-1980's, many protected areas (66 national parks and 421 wildlife sanctuaries) were set aside, including large tracts of tiger habitat. They were later increased to 96 national parks, 510 wildlife sanctuaries and 3 conservation reserves and 2 community reserves. This resulted in an increase in tiger densities at many locations. Tragically, these conservation successes were short lived. Rampant poaching for the trade in tiger parts - all destined for markets outside India's borders - now threatens the tiger's very existence.
Prevailing conservation efforts are not geared towards, nor have they adequately addressed, the new threats with new protection strategies ie. better law enforcement, training and support. Excellent new tiger protection measures (such as the recommendations of the (Subramanian Committee for the Prevention of Illegal Trade in Wildlife, 1994 and Tiger Task Force, 2005) have been proposed but not implemented and little effective action has been taken in the field. Few of the tiger reserves have an established...
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