India aims to sustain a viable tiger population based on a scientifically calculated carrying capacity of habitats while maintaining a balance between development and wildlife conservation, the head of Project Tiger, which completed 50 years on April 1, said on Wednesday.
Additional Director General of Forests S P Yadav also said that though tiger poaching has substantially reduced due to better technology and protection mechanisms, it is still the biggest threat to the big cats besides habitat fragmentation and degradation.
India launched Project Tiger on April 1, 1973 to promote tiger conservation. Initially, it covered nine tiger reserves spread over 18,278 sq km. At present, there are 53 tiger reserves spanning more than 75,000 sq km (approximately 2.4 per cent of the country’s geographical area).