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Context: Approval of National Tiger Conservation Authority has been accorded to Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary and Guru Ghasidas National Park & Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary for declaration as Tiger Reserve.
- In-principle approval has been given by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary, Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary for declaration as Tiger Reserve.
- To reduce the incidents of human-wildlife conflict, guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure have been issued by the Central Government through the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
- Under the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger funding assistance is provided which inter alia including ex-gratia and capacity building of staff for mitigating human-wildlife conflicts.
The Government of India, through the National Tiger Conservation Authority, has advocated a three pronged strategy to manage human-tiger negative interactions as follows:-
- Material and logistical support:Funding support through the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Project Tiger, is provided to tiger reserves for acquiring capacity in terms of infrastructure and material, to deal with tigers dispersing out of source areas.
- Restricting habitat interventions: Based on the carrying capacity of tigers in a tiger reserve, habitat interventions are restricted through an overarching Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP).
- Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs):The National Tiger Conservation Authority has issued following three SOPs to deal with human-animal conflict, which are available in public domain:
- To deal with emergency arising due to straying of tigers in human dominated landscapes
- To deal with tiger depredation on livestock
- For active management towards rehabilitation of tigers from source areas at the landscape level.
- This tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973by the Government of India during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's tenure.
- Aim: Ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction, and preserving areas of biological importance as a natural heritage
- From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 50at present, spread out in 18 of our tiger range states.
- The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy.
- Core areashave the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary.
- Whereas, buffer or peripheralareas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a multiple use area.
- The government has set up a Tiger Protection Forceto combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.
National Tiger Conservation Authority was established in 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force, to reorganise management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India. It is the overarching body for conservation of tigers in India.
Structure of NTCA:
- Environment Minister is the Chairman of the NTCA.
- Below chairman are eight expertsor professionals having qualifications and experience in wildlife conservation and welfare of people including tribals, apart from three Members of Parliament (1 Rajya Sabha, 2 Lok Sabha).
- The Inspector General of Forests, in charge of project Tiger, serves as ex-officio Member Secretary.
- Its main administrative function is to approve the Tiger Conservation Plan prepared by the State Governmentsand then evaluate and assess various aspects of sustainable ecology and disallow any ecologically unsustainable land use such as, mining, industry and other projects within the tiger reserves.
- As per the WLPA, every State Government has the authority to notify an area as a tiger reserve.
- However, the Tiger Conservation Plans sent by state government need to be approved by the NTCA first.
- Alternatively, Central Government via NTCA may advise the state governments to forward a proposal for creation of Tiger Reserves.
Other Functions of NTCA are as follows:
- Regulation and standardization of tourism activities
- Provide for management focus and measures for addressing conflicts of men and wild animals.
- Provide information on protection measures.
- Ensure that the tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area or tiger reserve with another protected area or tiger reserve are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses, except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board for Wild Life and on the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority.
- Facilitate and support the tiger reserve management in the State.
- Ensure critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for better implementation of the tiger conservation plan.