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M for majestic and M for most vulnerable – The Tiger

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The ‘Life of Pi’ is the latest in the celluloid world which depicted the tiger in its majestic best. In fact, the tiger has always been portrayed as a powerful and a symbol of ferocious aggression. However, the reality is quite the opposite, in fact, it’s horrific. The tiger is the most vulnerable animal and is fighting for its mere survival. But the good news is that the Tiger Population is increasing according to the latest data available with the Government.

Tiger Population
The Indian government has released a report called “Status of Tigers in India” in the year 2014. The findings indicate a countrywide 30% increase in tiger population in 2014 with an estimated number of 2226 tigers as compared to 2010 estimation of 1706 tigers. The chart below shows the number of tigers in each of the four different regions and the corresponding tiger population in 2010 and 2014.

RegionStates in the Region
Shivalik GangeticUttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
Central IndiaAndhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jharkhand
Western GhatsKarnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Goa
North East Hills, and BrahmaputraAssam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, West Bengal

 

Tiger Population in India

A state wise breakdown indicates that there has been no major decline in any of the tiger landscape / State except for the state of Jharkhand where the decline was due to non assessment of tiger population owing to the problem of left wing extremism.  The tiger population in rest of the states has either increased or remained stable.

Poaching
Poaching has been a major challenze in the conservation of the Tiger. Just in the year 2014, 14 cases of poaching have been confirmed and 48 cases are still under scrutiny. In other words, out of the tigers that died in 2014, 18% of them have fallen prey to poaching while a large number of cases are under scrutiny. This number could further increase once the investigation is complete. 

Sl. No.StateTiger mortalityCases of confirmed poachingUnder scrutinyOther causes
1Andhra Pradesh3210
2Assam651
3Bihar312
4Karnataka761
5Kerala4121
6Madhya Pradesh15285
7Maharashtra1037
8Tamil Nadu173113
9Uttarakhand853
10Uttar Pradesh22
11Chhattisgarh22
12Telangana11

 

Funding for the Project Tiger
Under the ongoing centrally sponsored scheme, ‘Project Tiger’, funding assistance is provided to the states, based on the reserve specific Annual plan of operations, for protection, management and related works as per the Project Tiger guidelines. A look at the allocation & utilization of funds indicates that the funds released have been largely utilized.

(Utilized amount is more than the released amount owing to carried over unspent funds of the previous years.)

YearAllocated/Released (In Rs Lakh)Utilized (In Rs Lakh)
2011-1216,062.5220,255.44
2012-1316,287.2516,041.79
2013-1417,228.8115,699.01
2014-15 (as on 17th Feb 2015)16,877.99NA

 

Tiger Population in India - Funds Released and Utilized under Project Tiger

A state wise breakdown further indicates that while the funds are being allocated for the tiger protection, the utilization of these funds hasn’t always been on target. There are large variations across states. Andhra Pradesh for instance hasn’t spent a single rupee in 2011-12 through 1.54 crore rupees was released. In 2011-12, states like Karnataka & Chhattisgarh have spent much less than what was allocated. Hopefully the governments at the center & the states do a better job at managing and utilizing the funds so the tiger can truly go back to being majestic.

Data Source:  Answer to Starred Question No 8, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change dated 24th February, 2015.

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