Roaring Success: Unveiling the legacy and challenges of Project Tiger!

On the 1st of April 1973 'Project Tiger' was launched from Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. It was the first project of this kind to be launched in India aiming to protect and conserve the Tigers in India and maintain their population.

Aditi Nag
New Update

Tigers are the royalty and heritage of India. In the 19th century, the species, which is India's national animal, became endangered and its numbers were significantly reduced due to rampant hunting and poaching. India is home to the world's largest population of Royal Bengal Tigers, with around 75% of the global tiger population found here. Consequently, India became the prime target for poachers and hunters. To take precautions regarding tiger conservation and overcome this threat, Project Tiger was launched.

How was Project Tiger launched?

Back in the 19th century, the population of Royal Bengal Tigers in India was around 40,000. Within a span of 70 years, the population started to dwindle and fell to 1800 due to continued poaching and habitat destruction, decimating the population and reaching rock bottom. This was a grave concern, prompting researcher and conservationist Dr. Kailash Sankhla to personally appeal to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and draw her attention to this serious issue.


The revelation was not just surprising and concerning; it also underscored the neglect being directed towards India's National Animal. It stood as an undeniable failure. In response to the harsh criticism prompted by these statistics, the government investigated the matter and took action to rejuvenate the tiger population in the country. On the 1st of April 1973 'Project Tiger' was launched from Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand. It was the first project of this kind to be launched in India aiming to protect and conserve the Tigers in India and maintain their population. 

History of Project Tiger

Project Tiger was first introduced in 1973 and was aimed at nine tiger reserves totaling 9,115 sq km of area. This number increased to 15 reserves by the late 1980s, covering 24,700 sq km of area in total. Even though new habitats were added to the project, the tiger population had topped 1,100 by 1984, In the next few years there were 23 tiger reserves stretched over an area of 33,000 sq km and were protected under this project. However, the number did not increase significantly despite this expansion.

Aims to start Project Tiger in India

  • To examine the factors causing the reduction in the species of tigers in India and diminish them through suitable management practices. To take measures that fix the damage done to the habitat, allowing the natural ecosystems to recover as much as possible.
  • To ensure healthy and safe living conditions for tigers for their sustainability and also to protect the healthy tiger population, which holds economic, ecological, cultural and aesthetic importance.


How Project Tiger was successful


There were only 1,200 tigers left in the wild, a serious threat to these magnificent animals, therefore India faced a major conservation problem. Now, the tiger population has already grown to about 3,682, as stated in a report by the World Animal Foundation as a result of the NTCA's 1973 launch of Project Tiger. Although this figure is still not optimal, it does demonstrate the work that the NTCA and the Tiger Project Team have put in.

Even though the Royal Bengal Tiger population is still a cause for concern, there is a discernible rising trend that suggests increased public awareness and cooperation with tiger conservation initiatives. The cause of tiger preservation is currently being accelerated by the large number of individuals who actively participate in wildlife conservation efforts.

The project was funded by the Union Government of India and administrated under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) serves as the primary overseeing agency. This project overlooks 50 tiger reserves spread across 72,749 sq. km. of green cover as part of the endeavour to conserve species of tiger in India. Today India has more than 50 tiger reserves and 100 National parks. Various measures and programs are conducted considering the preservation of tigers and their habitat.



Jim corbett national park Project Tiger Royal Bengal Tiger National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) Union Government of India Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change