- Bandipur completes 50 years as Project Tiger reserve.
- It was on April 1, 1973, that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched Project Tiger, the flagship conservation programme to arrest the big cat’s dwindling population.
- There were 12 tigers in Bandipur when Project Tiger was launched and now the number of tigers utilising the park is 173 while the number of tigers within the reserve has been pegged at 126 as per the ‘Status of Tigers Co-predators and Prey in India, 2018’ published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
- Much before the Wildlife Conservation Act, 1972, was passed, the erstwhile rulers of Mysuru had realised the imperatives of conserving the flora and fauna.
- Several forest areas were not only preserved as Game Reserves but Tiger Blocks were identified and restrictions imposed on shooting.
- In 1941, the Venugopal Wildlife Park was constituted extending over 800 sq km of which 82 sq. miles was known as Bandipur Sanctuary within the park.
- The boundary extended from Moyar river forming the southern border towards the Nilgiris, and northwards, it stretched till Gundlupet including the 1,450m-high Himavad Gopalswamy Betta.
- The park was named after Venugopala, the deity at the temple atop the hill.
- Project Tiger was first initiated in the year April 1, 1973 to save the Royal Bengal Tigers.
- It was launched in Jim Corbett National Park, Uttrakhand.
- The Centre funds tiger range States and in-situ conservation in some chosen reserves.
- The reserves have been created on a core and buffer structure, where the core is for tiger-centric activities and the buffer is for humans on the fringes of the forest.
- A GPS-based law enforcement and ecological monitoring tool, M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers- Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) was launched in 2010.
- It is helping create a database of individual tigers so that seized body parts can be traced to the tigers they belong to.
Cause of their depletion:
- The major cause of their depletion is humans (poaching, habitat loss), and so all the conservation areas are made human free.
- Human interference in any of the reserves and forests is not allowed.
Success of the project:
- Project Tiger has been successful in increasing the population of the tigers.
- The number has increased from 1200 to around 5000.
- India accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s tigers
Extent of the project:
There are around fifty national parks and sanctuaries that are involved in this project.
- Recent additions to this project are are:
- Ratapani Tiger Reserve(Madhya Pradesh),
- Sunabeda Tiger Reserve (Odisha), and
- Guru Ghasidas (Chhattisgarh).
- Conservation status:
- IUCN – Endangered
- Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
How Project Tiger helped in protecting other wild species?
- After seeing the success of Project Tiger, the government updated the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- This made sure that along with tigers, other wildlife also gets protected.
- One by one, every national park took an initiative to save endangered species.
- For, e.g.: Gir conserves lions, and Kaziranga conserves one-horned rhinos.
- Eventually, the population of many animals started increasing.
- Project Tiger has been undertaken by more than fifty national parks, and every park is putting an equal effort to save the endangered species.
- Increasing four thousand tigers in the past few years is one of the landmark achievement of the project.
- People have become more aware of the wildlife problem and have taken steps to stop them from decreasing.
- Project Tiger also generated jobs for many individuals.
| Bandipur Tiger Reserve
· Bandipur National Park in Karnataka was established as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1973.
· It is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve since 1986.
· The Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore created a sanctuary in 1931 and named it the Venugopala Wildlife Park.
· The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger in 1973 by adding much more area to the Venugopala Wildlife park.
· Bandipur National Park is located where the Deccan Plateau meets the Western Ghats.
As a result, the park has a variety of biomes including:
· dry deciduous forests,
· moist deciduous forests and
· The park is flanked by the Kabini river in the north and the Moyar in the south.
· The Nugu river runs through the park.
· The highest point in the park is on a hill called Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta.
· Bandipur has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons.
The Asian elephant, gaur, Bengal tiger, sloth bear, four-horned antelope, golden jackal and dhole.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB