1973 TO 2023 - an analysis of 50 YEARS OF PROJECT TIGER


India celebrates 50 years of Project Tiger on April 9 2023. When project tiger was launched from Corbett's Dhikala range in 1973,tiger population in the country stood at 268. In the latest tiger census released by Prime Minister, the number of tigers in India has increased from 2,967 in 2018 to 3,167 in 2022.


  • "India is home to 70 per cent of the world's tiger population.
  • At the inaugural session of the 50 years of Project Tiger, PM also launched the International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) and released a booklet 'Amrit Kaal Ka Tiger Vision', which sets conservation goals for the next 25 years.
  • Initially, at the launch of Project Tiger in April 1973, it covered nine tiger reserves. At present, there are 53 tiger reserves.
  • Of the total world population of 4500 tigers, india has over 3000 tigers.

How are these numbers counted?

  • In 1973, forest staff would use glass and butter paper to track tiger pugmarks. Every tiger has a unique and individual footprint -- like human fingerprints -- that helps in tracking. Rangers would trace the joint marks off the foot and trace it on butter paper to draw and record the footprint with the idea of using it to track that particular tiger in the future. However, it's not reliable as the pugmarks differ when a tiger is standing, resting, or running & this adds discrepancies to the process.
  • Over the years the practice evolved into a statistical method of counting. Forest staff turned to the capture-mark-and-recapture method, which is largely used to estimate the population based on a sample. Data on individual tiger photo-captures is used in combination with data on prey, habitat, and anthropogenic factors to arrive at tiger population estimates for each landscape.
  • According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the camera traps are set up in areas known to be frequented by the big cat such as animal trails, nullahs, riverbeds, and car tracks. The cameras are placed at knee height concealed from the general view of the animal camouflage to blend in the environment. The camera traps are set in pairs to capture both sides of the tiger.
  • India is divided into five zones for the survey - Gangetic Plains, Central India and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, North Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Flood Plains, and Sundarbans. During the 2018 assessment, a total area of 381,400 square km was surveyed with 26,838 camera trap locations in 141 sites.
  • "The tiger numbers are expected to be significantly higher than what the reports indicate since camera traps are only set up in the protected areas. With the increasing numbers of the big cat, they do venture out beyond the limits of national parks where we don't have camera traps,


The Elephant Whisperers


Also know about the Oscar winning documentary

The Elephant Whisperers depicts an unbreakable bond between two abandoned elephants and their caretakers. It is produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain of Sikhya Entertainment & Directed by Kartiki Gonsalves. Indian documentary The Elephant Whisperers bagged the Best Documentary Short Award on Monday morning at the ongoing 95th Academy Awards. This makes it the first Indian production to win under the category.

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