With a current population of about 3682 tigers, India harbours approximately 75% global wild tiger population, and the population is increasing at an annual rate of 6%. The success of India in conserving and doubling its wild tiger population in about 12 years (much before the targeted year of 2022 as per the St. Petersburg Declaration) is commendable, especially when the tiger is highly threatened globally due to the high illegal demand of its body parts.
As we celebrate half a century of Project Tiger, the country is moving forward with its new tiger vision, which brings the perspective of the majestic cat becoming a major indicator of climate, ecosystem well-being, human health and livelihood. The vision aims to sustain tigers for posterity while preserving tangible and intangible gains derived from these wilderness habitats.
This talk provides a retrospective of milestone initiatives undertaken by the Government of India during the last few decades to protect tigers and ensure the conservation of other endangered species and habitats under the ambit of Project Tiger. It also summarises the future contours required for sustaining wild tiger habitats while recognising the tiger and its role as a mascot for livelihood, sustenance of natural resources, and preserving the socio-cultural ethos.