Mysore/Mysuru: Karnataka’s first Project Tiger was implemented in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in 1973 and 50 years (Golden Jubilee) have been successfully completed.
Declared in 1973, the Project Tiger is the first of its kind of project in India which initiated a concerted Tiger Protection Campaign as the tiger population was on the decline due to rampant hunting for pleasure and for trophies to be smuggled across the borders.
When the project was launched in 1973, ten forest areas were identified to conserve the species. They are, Corbett Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Manas Tiger Reserve, Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, Melghat Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, Palamau Tiger Reserve, Similipal Tiger Reserve and Periyar Tiger Reserve. Since its inception, the project has created 50-plus tiger reserves across the country and helped increase the wild tiger population from roughly 1,800 to 3,000. Notably, fewer than 4,000 tigers are estimated to live in all of Asia.
In Bandipur, the Project Tiger was launched by the then Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs on November 16, 1973 and during the launch, there were just 12 tigers there. Over the years and due to conservation, awareness and stringent measures against poaching, Bandipur has an estimated population of over 170 big cats as per the latest estimates. The success of the Project Tiger in India has proven that the big cat population can be saved and revived even in a country like India that is among one of the world’s most densely populated nations.