1. Project Tiger – Tiger Conservation Project of India
Project Tiger is a tiger conservation initiative that was started by the Indian government in April 1973, under the leadership of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The conservation of India’s national animal, the tiger, is being pursued through a ground-breaking program “Project Tiger”. Project Tiger now covers 51 tiger reserves, scattered throughout 18 of the states where tigers are found, up from 9 in its early years. This represents about 2.23% of our nation’s total land area.
The initiative seeks to maintain a healthy population of Bengal tigers in their native habitats, safeguard them from extinction, and protect biologically significant places as a natural legacy that reflects the diversity of ecosystems found throughout the tiger’s reserves in the nation. The task team for the initiative envisioned these tiger reserves as breeding centers from which extra animals would disperse to neighboring forests. Money and dedication were raised to support the project’s aggressive program of habitat protection and rehabilitation.
The core/buffer strategy was used to create the tiger reserves. The buffer or periphery regions are a mixture of forest and non-forest land, administered as a mixed-use area, while the core parts have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary. In the core areas of tiger reserves, Project Tiger attempts to promote an exclusive tiger agenda while promoting an inclusive people-oriented agenda in the buffer.
In order to extrapolate site-specific populations of tigers, their co-predators, and their prey from video trap and sign surveys using GIS – a new methodology was applied during the 2006 tiger census. Based on the findings of these surveys, a total of 1,411 tigers between the ages of 1,165 and 1,657, or adult and sub-adult tigers, were predicted to exist in the world. According to the assertion, project tiger increased the number of tigers to 2,603–3,346 by 2018.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change’s ongoing Project Tiger program provides the designated tiger reserves in the tiger States with central support for tiger protection.
Sanctuary covered in Project Tiger of India are:
|Sl. No||Tiger Reserve (TR)||PA Notifying Year||State||Core Area||Buffer Area||Total Area|
|(sq km)||(sq km)||(sq km)|
|Amanagarh buffer||–||Uttar Pradesh||–||80.6||80.6|
|15||Nagarjunsagar Sagar||1982-83||Andhra Pradesh||2,595.72||700.59||3,296.31|
|17||Kalakad Mundanthurai||1988-89||Tamil Nadu||895||706.54||1,601.54|
|25||Pench – MH||1998-99||Maharashtra||257.26||483.96||741.22|
|35||Sanjay Dhubri||–||Madhya Pradesh||812.57||861.93||1,674.50|
|40||Biligiri Ranganatha Temple||–||Karnataka||359.1||215.72||574.82|
|51||Srivilliputhur Megamalai||–||Tamil Nadu||641.86||374.7||1016.57|
|52||Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve||–||Rajasthan||481.9073||1019.9848||1501.8921|
Need for the Project Tiger of India:
- The endeavour strives to maintain a healthy population of Bengal tigers in their native habitats.
- Protecting Bengal tigers from extinction
- The preservation of biologically significant sites as a natural heritage reflects the diversity of ecosystems found throughout the country’s tiger reserves.
- Reducing Human and animal conflicts and ensuring and building cohesive relations so that both can survive together.
- Ensuring quick and proper compensation paid to farmers for their cattle killed by tigers near tiger reserves.
Measures taken for the Project Tiger of India:
- Protect tigers and their habitat.
- Build capacity in range states.
- Reduce human-tiger conflict.
- Conduct scientific research on tigers to help inform conservation strategies.
- Promote tiger-friendly policies.
- Monitor tiger numbers, population trends, and threats to tigers and their habitats
- Constant monitoring of the tiger reserve to avoid any poaching activities
2. Project Elephant – Elephant Conservation Project of India
The Government of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests launched Project Elephant in 1992 to offer financial and technical assistance to states’ attempts to manage their free-ranging populations of wild Asian elephants. The project aims to safeguard elephants, their habitats, and migration routes in order to guarantee the long-term survival of the elephant population in its native settings.
The largest terrestrial mammal in India is the elephant (Elephas maximus). Elephants require large spaces because they are a wide-ranging species. According to our mythology, elephants were born from celestial waters, and as a result, due to this belief, they are closely related to rain and water. Elephants have very high nutrient and water needs, thus only forests with ideal environmental conditions can sustain their population.
The greatest method for assessing the health of the forests is by looking at the status of the elephant. From the Tigris and Euphrates in West Asia eastward via Persia into the Indian subcontinent, South and Southeast Asia including Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, and up to North China, Asian elephants were believed to be widely dispersed. The Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia, and a few Asian Islands, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Malaysia, are the only places where they are currently found.
India is home to over 60% of the Asian elephants. According to ancient texts, elephants were present across India even throughout the Moghul era, especially in several Central Indian regions like Marwar, Chanderi, Satwas, Bijagarh, and Panna. The wild elephant’s current range in India is, however, limited to the following states: South India; North East, comprising North West Bengal; Central India’s Orissa; South West Bengal; and Jharkhand; and North West India’s Uttarakhand and UP.
Additional objectives of Project Elephant include funding research into the ecology and management of elephants, educating locals about conservation, and enhancing veterinary care for captive elephants.
Also Read: Top 5 Best Tiger Safari in India Tours 2022
Sanctuary covered in Project Elephants
32 Elephant Reserves (ERs) covering around 58,000 square kilometers (22,000 square miles) as of 2010 had been formally notified by several State Governments. The following is a list of elephant reserves along with their size and population of elephants:
|SI.No.||Reserve Name||Range||Estd.||State||Total area (km²)|
|13||South Arunachal||Eastern-South||Arunachal Pradesh||900+|
|17||Chirang-Ripu||North Bengal-Greater Manas||2003||Assam||2,600|
|18||Eastern Dooars||North Bengal-Greater Manas||2002||West Bengal||978|
|23||Nilgiri||Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats||2003||Tamil Nadu||4,663|
|24||Rayala||Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats||2003||Andhra Pradesh||766|
|26||Coimbatore||Brahmagiri-Nilgiri-Eastern Ghats||2003||Tamil Nadu||566|
|27||Anamalai||Anamalai-Nelliampathy-High Range||2003||Tamil Nadu||1,457|
|32||Uttar Pradesh||North-Western||2009||Uttar Pradesh||744|
|35||Sanjay Dhubri||–||Madhya Pradesh||812.57||861.93|
|40||Biligiri Ranganatha Temple||–||Karnataka||359.1||215.72|
|51||Srivilliputhur Megamalai||–||Tamil Nadu||641.86||374.7|
|52||Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve||–||Rajasthan||481.9073||1019.9848|
Need for the Project Elephants of India
- To safeguard elephants, their habitat, and travel routes.
- To address the problem of animal-human conflict.
- Protection of captive elephants
- To encourage the protection of elephants from injury to their tusks.
Measures taken for the Project Elephants of India
- Improvement and restoration of Elephants Corridors through Project Elephants Range states under PE Scheme
- For effective management of the elephant population, upgradation of infrastructure for all elephant reserves.
- For the preservation of elephants, anti-depredation teams, anti-poaching teams, and trekkers are employed
- Solar fencing, trenches, and stone walls are being constructed in the areas where depredation is likely to occur in order to reduce the threat that elephants pose to human settlements.
- Studies on a range of topics, including human-animal conflict and the habitat’s carrying capacity for elephants, are encouraged.
- To reduce the number of wild elephant deaths, local villagers are involved in awareness campaigns.
3. Project Snow Leopard – Snow Leopard Conservation Project of India
To safeguard and conserve India’s unique natural heritage of high-altitude wildlife populations and their habitats by promoting conservation through participatory policies and actions. All biologically important landscapes in the Himalayan high altitudes in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Snow leopards and their habitat are to be preserved under the Project Snow Leopard (PSL), which was started in 2009. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry & Climate Change has listed 21 critically endangered species for its recovery program, including the snow leopard. In Darjeeling, West Bengal, the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park runs a program to conserve and breed Snow Leopards.
A member of the Panthera felid genus and a native of the alpine ranges of Central and South Asia, the snow leopard is also referred to as the ounce. Due to its status as the top predator in the food chain, the Snow Leopard, often known as the “Ghost of the Mountains,” serves as an indicator of the health of the alpine ecosystem in which it lives. The IUCN Red List classifies it as Vulnerable due to the estimated population of fewer than 10,000 adult individuals worldwide and the projected 10% population decline by 2040. The largest national park in India is Hemis, which also boasts a healthy population of snow leopards.
Habitat: They are widely distributed yet dispersed throughout central Asia’s mountainous region, which includes Sikkim, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and other Himalayan regions. Threat: The lack of natural prey species, retaliatory killing brought on by conflicts with humans, and the illicit traffic in its fur and bones put this species in great danger.
Also Read: How to Reach the National Parks of India
Areas covered in Project Snow Leopard
|State||Potential Area under PSL (km2 )||Approximate percentage of each State’s area falling under the Project||Approximate percentage of total Project Area covered by each State|
|Jammu & Kashmir||77,833||61||60|
The majority of the high elevations in Central Asia and the Himalayas are home to the threatened snow leopard. The ecology, situation, and even the range of the species are little understood. The IUCN’s Red List classifies the snow leopard as Endangered, with a rough estimate of its global population at 7,400 individuals.
The snow leopard’s overall potential range is thought to be 2 million km2, with the majority of individuals living in China, followed by Mongolia and India. Although these numbers are not exact, it is thought that India’s five Himalayan states are home to between 400 and 700 snow leopards. The snow leopard is an effective flagship species for wildlife conservation in the high altitudes of the Himalayas because of its widespread distribution, perilous conservation situation, and tremendous aesthetic appeal.
Hemis National Park, Gangotri National Park, Khangchendzonga National park, and Great Himalayan National Park are some protected areas where snow leopards are known to be found.
Need for the Project Snow Leopard
- Facilitate a landscape-level approach to wildlife conservation – Since wildlife populations in the Himalayan high altitudes are not restricted to protected areas, a landscape-level conservation approach is needed
- Rationalize the existing protected area network and improve protected area management
- Develop a framework for wildlife Temperate forest in northern Kashmir, J&K conservation outside protected areas, and promote ecologically responsible development
- Support focused conservation and recovery programs for endangered species such as the snow leopard and its prey species
- Promote stronger measures for wildlife protection and law enforcement
- Promote better understanding and management of human-wildlife conflicts
- Restore degraded landscapes in the high-altitude Himalayan and Trans-Himalayan biogeographic regions
- Reduce existing anthropogenic pressures on natural resources
- Promote local capacity, conservation education, and awareness
- Promote a knowledge-based approach to conservation and an adaptive framework for wildlife management.
Measures taken for the Project Snow Leopard
- Enhanced management in Project Areas
- Alternate sources of income for local communities
- Effective protection
- Formulate alpine pasture/rangeland management strategies
- Develop comprehensive conflict mitigation strategies for livestock and crop depredation.
- Capacity development/enhancement of staff in wildlife management
- Encourage research on wildlife ecology and human society
- Convergence of biodiversity concerns and development
- Staff welfare and financial strategies
4. Project Hangul – Hangul Conservation Project of India
The Jammu Kashmir Government prepared a project for the protection of Hangul and its habitat in the 1970s with assistance from the IUCN and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Hangul is widely known as Kashmir Stag. Project Hangul is the name given to this large-scale initiative for the preservation and protection of Kashmir stags. As a result, by 1980, there were 340 members of this species. The IUCN Red Book classifies Hangul as a Critically Endangered species. The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972’s Schedule I grants the Hangul protection status.
The government of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir has recently taken a number of actions to assess the population of endangered animals. Additionally, there have been positive hints of their migration to the Dachigam National Park’s adjacent forest regions, which are primarily thought of as one of the species’ current protected area habitats.
Sadly, the Kashmiri stag’s beauty hasn’t shielded it from a doomsday outcome. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources’ Red Data Book has listed the lovely stag as a critically endangered species (IUCN).
Around 5,000 creatures were thought to inhabit Hangul at the turn of the 20th century. In 1947, Dachigam was home to roughly 2000 animals. After that, a fall in the population of Hangul was noticed. The population of stags was discovered to be between 82 and 180 according to the most recent census, which was done in March 2015. This is the lowest number ever.
The reasons for its depletion are several. The habitat of Hangul has been disrupted by a number of factors, the most notable ones being a metallic road from lower Dachigam to upper Dachigam, fragmentation by fish farms and sheep farms, water supply from Marsar lake to Dachigam village and surrounding areas, and also encroachment by agricultural activities which restricts Hangul movement in the park.
Areas covered in Project Hangul
The subspecies is fighting for survival in its last stronghold; it is currently dispersed across 141 km2 of Dachigam National Park, which is on the outskirts of Srinagar in the foothills of the Zabarwan range. Hangul, a deer species renowned for its splendid antlers with 11 to 16 points, was previously widely spread in the Kashmiri Himalayas.
Need for the Project Hangul
There has been a significant decline in the population of Kasmir Stag’s since Independence. The initiative in the form Project can be considered a positive way to revive its population but may its too little too late. Their population was estimated to be between 3,000 and 5,000 in the 1940s. In 2004, there were 197 Hanguls (with a sex ratio of 19 for every 100 females and 23 fawns for every 100 females), however, there were only 153 in 2006. (sex ratio of 21 males for 100 females and 9 fawns for 100 females).
There are just about 160 people, according to the 2008 census. Only 186 Hanguls were found in and around their habitats in the Kashmir valley according to a 2015 estimate of the Hangul population. To boost their chances of surviving, there are plans to breed them in captivity.
Project Crocodile – Crocodile & Gharial Conservation Project of India
Prior to the project’s beginning in 1974. According to Dr. H. R. Bustard’s investigation of the condition of Indian crocodiles (Bustard, 1981), the following findings were made:
Gharial Gavialis Gangeticus
Due to habitat loss, set nylon net deaths, and poaching, this species, which was once common in the rivers of North India, was thought to be at risk of extinction. The populations that survived were discovered to be incredibly small.
Estuarih Crocodile Crocodylus Porosus
This species used to be widespread along the subcontinent’s rivers and coasts, but by 1974 it had vanished entirely from the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. The Brahamani-Baitarani delta in Orissa, the Sunderbans in West Bengal, and the Andaman Islands all still had a small population.
Mugger Crocodylus Palustris
This species, which was originally widespread and extremely numerous, was now rare in the majority, if not the entirety, of its former range by 1974. It was thought that remnant communities in South India/Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh may respond quickly to management and protection and that this might also be the case in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The construction of dams has significantly changed the crocodile habitat, which has negatively impacted fisheries due to crocodiles being tangled in nylon gill nets. However, the species is less vulnerable since it can adapt to a variety of environments, including small ponds and tanks, and because it can travel overland for considerable distances.
A Crocodile Conservation Project was started in 1975 in various States as a result of research on the prospects for crocodile rehabilitation conducted by FAO Expert Dr. H.R. Bustard, who was hired by UNDP/FAO and the Government of India. Since Odisha is notable for possessing all three species of Indian crocodilians, the Gharial and Saltwater Crocodile Conservation Program was initially started there in early 1975, and the Mugger Conservation Program soon followed. UNDP/FAO provided the project with funding and technical assistance through the Government of India.
Due to the ever-increasing human activity in rivers and other traditional habitats for crocodiles, and the resulting reduction in the length of habitable sections, there were very few crocodiles. Additionally, predation contributes to the low survival percentage of crocodile hatchlings in the wild. From the 1960s onward, sporadic attempts were made to conserve the crocodile.
Areas covered in Project Crocodile
There are now 11 crocodile sanctuaries and 16 crocodile rehabilitation centres. A total of 493 muggers, 190 estuarine crocodiles, and 879 gharials were raised in captivity before being released (all at 3-years of age). Successful breeding of muggers, estuarine crocodiles, and gharials had occurred in ten different locations.
The restoration of healthy gharial mating populations in the sanctuaries of Chambal and Satkoshia Gorge was the biggest accomplishment.
Soon after the initiative began, it became clear that well-trained workers were required for a successful crocodile conservation effort. 46 crocodile station managers were taught at the Crocodile Breeding and Management Training Institute, which was founded in Hyderabad in 1980.
Need for the Project Crocodile
- Before the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, crocodilians in India were in danger from indiscriminate commercial hunting and catastrophic habitat destruction.
- The Gharial, Mugger, and Saltwater crocodile species were all on the verge of extinction in Odisha’s river systems by the 1970s.
- Due to increased human activity in rivers and other traditional habitats, crocodiles were becoming scarce, which reduced the length of sections that were habitable.
- Predation also lowers the likelihood of crocodile hatchlings in the wild surviving.
- Piecemeal efforts to conserve the crocodile were made in the 1960s.
Measures taken for the Project Crocodile
- The management of crocodiles has involved local residents very closely.
- To conduct crocodile and other related wildlife studies, full-time research staff have been hired by the wildlife wing.
- Crocodiles are the featured species of a few significant wetland reserves that have been established.
- Along with the crocodilians, active management of other wetland species was initiated. Mangrove vegetation, marine and freshwater turtles, monitor lizards, Gangetic dolphins, otters, and other reptile species were among them.
- A close international partnership in the areas of animal conservation, education, and training was launched at the same time as the crocodile initiative.