The Kaziranga Tiger Reserve has been recognized as one of the most important source population of tigers among the tiger reserves of Assam and for the entire North East India and even beyond.
Accordingly to the Divisional Forest Officer, Kaziranga National Park has a tiger population of 104. However, the landscape of Kaziranga is mired with issues such as destructive mining, stone quarrying in Karbi Anglong hills that threatens the very existence of Kaziranga.
On the occasion of the International Tiger Day, wildlife enthusiasts hope the Government of Assam initiates conservation measures in the true spirit of the St Petersburg declaration of Tiger Range Countries.
Back in 2010, the Heads of the Governments of the Tiger Range Countries (TRC) which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam gathered at unprecedented Global Tiger Summit, in St Petersburg, Russia.
The summit recognized the fact that tiger, the iconic animal face of Asia was facing the threat of extinction in the wild given that their numbers have plummeted from 1,00,000 to less than 3,500 in the last century. Further, in the last decade alone the habitat of tigers has declined by 40 per cent.
At this historical summit, the TRCs pledged to double the tiger numbers by 2022 through effective management, protection of tiger habitat, working collaboratively for containing the menace of poaching, through involvement of local communities in biodiversity conservation efforts, seeking funding from various national and international sources, and build awareness by celebrating Global Tiger Day annually on July 29.
Post the Sariska debacle, India had successfully converted the tiger crisis into unprecedented opportunity for tiger conservation. The Project Tiger of the 1970s was transformed into the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), in 2006, a statutory body under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. In the recent years, the NTCA has brought in professionalism and technical expertise in the field of tiger conservation through a slew of measures such as Tiger Conservation Plans (TCPs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling subjects like tiger mortality, reintroduction, straying of tigers in human dominated landscape, voluntary relocation of villages from the core area of tiger reserves, extensive funding of tiger reserves through Centrally Sponsored Scheme – Project Tiger and intensive monitoring of tigers at all India level once in 4 years and also on an annual basis at the tiger reserve level.
All these technological and professional management inputs have made India a world leader in conserving the iconic tiger. As per the last all India count, today India has nearly 2226 tigers, a number which is expected to increase even further.
The NTCAs scientific interventions have also identified the tigers of North East India as unique in terms of genetic composition. This highlights enhancing the commitment of the North Eastern states for conserving its tigers.