About National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

In December 2005, India set up the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) based on a suggestion from the Tiger Task Force. The Prime Minister created it to improve how Project Tiger and various Tiger Reserves across India are managed.

Background

In 1973, the Indian government teamed up with WWF to start a protection program called “Tiger Protection Program,” also known as Project Tiger.

In June 2010, a thorough study by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) used special cameras to count tigers instead of relying on footprints. The study found that previous estimates of tiger numbers in India might have been too optimistic. According to a report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, it’s estimated that there are only about 1,411 adult tigers in India, excluding those in the Sundarbans that haven’t been counted.

For instance, in 16 reserves across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, there may be only around 490 tigers. This is a significant drop of 60% from the 1,233 tigers previously thought to be in these areas in 2002. The 2002 survey claimed India had 3,500 tigers in total, but the new survey suggests only about 1,400 remain.

Translocating villagers out of tiger reserves can benefit both humans and wildlife by providing access to education and healthcare for villagers, reducing the risk of tiger attacks, allowing prey populations to thrive, and making it harder for poachers to operate. However, in China, despite a domestic ban on tiger trade, thousands of tigers are kept in small cages for display. An investigation revealed that the illegal trade in tiger skins and bones is still active in Tibet and China, with captive tigers possibly being used to monopolize the trade once wild tigers are extinct. Farmers openly admit to killing tigers for Traditional Medicine. At a CITES conference, China’s proposal to trade in parts from captive-bred tigers was rejected, with a landmark decision stating that tigers should not be bred for trade.

The latest check on wild tigers by the Authority in 2018 found there are about 2,967 tigers, which is 33% more than in 2014.

Organization

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was changed in 2006 to create the National Tiger Conservation Authority, tasked with implementing the Project Tiger plan to safeguard endangered tigers. The Authority, chaired by the Minister for Environment and Forests, includes eight wildlife conservation and welfare experts, along with three Members of Parliament. The Inspector General of Forests, overseeing Project Tiger, serves as the Member Secretary.

The Authority is responsible for establishing standards and guidelines for tiger conservation in Tiger Reserves, National Parks, and Sanctuaries. It provides information on protection measures, conservation plans, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, and patrolling. Additionally, it supports tiger reserve management in States through eco-development, people’s participation, and similar initiatives in surrounding areas in accordance with Central and state laws.

The Tiger Conservation Authority must prepare an Annual Report to be presented in Parliament along with the Audit Report. State-level Steering Committees, chaired by the respective Chief Ministers, are established in Tiger States to coordinate, monitor, and protect tigers. States are required to develop Tiger Conservation Plans, ensuring staff development and deployment for reserve protection and development, along with compatible forestry operations in surrounding areas. Safeguards are in place to protect the interests of people living within or near reserves, with clear delineation of core and buffer areas to prevent confusion.

States will be allowed to create a Tiger Conservation Foundation, inspired by successful practices in some tiger reserves. This Foundation will be set up as a Trust according to the State’s laws. It will have its own management independence granted by the State Government. Its main task will be to raise funds to support eco-tourism, eco-development, and other activities involving local communities.

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