India’s 14 Tiger Reserves Get Global CA/TS Recognition

Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupendra Yadav on July 29, 2021 said that Tiger Conservation is a symbol of conservation of forests. The approach of the Government of India has been an inclusive one integrating scientific & traditional knowledge along with people’s participation which is vital for the conservation of Flora and Fauna of the country. He was speaking at a virtual event on the occasion of Global Tiger Day.

The Environment Minister also released the report ‘Status of Leopards, Co-predators and Megaherbivores-2018’ stating that the report is a testimony to the fact that conservation of tigers leads to the conservation of entire ecosystem.

During all India tiger estimation 2018, leopard population was also estimated within the forested habitats in tiger occupied states of the country. The overall leopard population in tiger range landscape of India in 2018 was estimated at 12,852 (SE range 12,172 – 13,535). This is a significant increase from the 2014, figure that was 7,910 (SE 6,566-9,181) in forested habitats of 18 tiger bearing states of the country.

14 Tiger Reserves In India Receive Global Accreditation

The event also showcased, the 14 Tiger Reserves in India which received the accreditation of the Global Conservation Assured|Tiger Standards (CA|TS). The 14 tiger reserves which have been accredited are:

  1. Manas, Kaziranga and Orang in Assam
  2. Satpura, Kanha and Panna in Madhya Pradesh
  3. Pench in Maharashtra
  4. Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  5. Dudhwa in Uttar Pradesh
  6. Sunderbans in West Bengal
  7. Parambikulam in Kerala
  8. Bandipur Tiger Reserve of Karnataka
  9. Mudumalai and Anamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu

Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS)

Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) has been agreed upon as accreditation tool by the global coalition of Tiger Range Countries (TRCs) and has been developed by tiger and protected area experts.

Officially launched in 2013, it sets minimum standards for effective management of target species and encourages assessment of these standards in relevant conservation areas.

CA|TS is a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.

The Government of India took a proactive step to classify forest and wildlife protection as ‘essential services’ during lockdown. The Country’s forest force continued to toil day and night; protecting forests and wildlife even during the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

Condition Of Tiger Habitats In India

An analysis carried out by the environmental organisation Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment says that the condition of many tiger reserves has declined due to diversion of land for infrastructure projects.

Its important findings:

The condition of tiger habitats in the country continues to degrade with every clearance being mechanically accorded by various statutory committee – Forest Advisory Committee (FAC), Regional Empowered Committee, Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (SC-NBWL) and Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC).

There is almost no consideration of the fact that such diversion will have impact on tiger habitat.

The issue of concern is that tiger habitats (tiger reserves and tiger corridors) continue to be diverted for infrastructural projects such as roads, railways, pipelines, transmission lines, etc. which were given clearances.

The Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) approved diversion 324.89 ha in 2019 and 594.5752 ha in 2020 in prime tiger habitats.

Analysis of clearances granted by SC-NBWL in the four meetings conducted so far this year, shows they have diverted 770.24 ha of tiger habitat in 2021. Besides these, several projects are in pipeline waiting to be cleared.

An example of this is Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand, where a total of six projects involving an area of 139.08 ha was approved for diversion in the past one year, where all of them were road projects.

A similar case was of Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) in Rajasthan, where 10 projects in year 2020 were approved, diverting a total of 80.6354 ha from tiger reserve and its surrounding corridors.

Fragmentation of tiger territories causes patches of isolated tiger reserves destroying Landscape connectivity that has most important role to play in conservation.