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    T

    TROJ

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    RE

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    INDIA

    TROJ

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    REG

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    Project Tiger is a wildlife conservation movementinitiated in India in 1973 to protect the BengalTigers.

    The project aims at tiger conservation in specially

    constituted tiger reserves representative of variousregions throughout India.

    In 2008, there were more than 40 Tiger Reserves of

    India covering an area over 37,761 km.Project Tiger helped to increase the population of

    these tigers from 1,200 in the 1970s to 3,500 in1990s

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    However, a 2008 census held by

    Government of India revealed that thetiger population had dropped to 1,411.

    Since then the government has pledged

    US$153 million to further fund theproject, set-up a Tiger Protection Forceto combat poachers, and fund the

    relocation of up to 200,000 villagers tominimize human-tiger interaction.

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    Project Tiger was formed in 1972 and launched on the 1stApril 1973 at Corbett National Park. It's aims were:

    To ensure maintenance of a viable population of tigers inIndia for scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural andecological values.

    To preserve, for all times, areas of such biological

    importance as a national heritage for the benefit,education and enjoyment of the people.

    Early development:

    With the co-operation of the Indian Government,

    Project Tiger initially established 9 reserves, acrossdifferent ecosystems. These were devoted specifically tosaving the tiger and eliminating those.

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    Factors which were contributing to

    the decline of the tiger:habitat destruction.

    forestry disturbance.

    loss of prey.

    poaching.

    competition with local villagers anddomestic animals

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    Within the reserves, certain areas weredesignated as breeding grounds (core areas) andthese were out of bounds to the public. It was

    hoped that as tiger populations increased anysurplus animals would migrate to neighbouringforests. To encourage this to happen, routes were

    established away from public view which allowedeasy access to other forests. Wide buffer zonesprotected the breeding areas and public access tothese was limited.

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    The grazing of domestic cattle was halted, aswas the harvesting of forestry. Entire villageswere moved from the lands of their forefathers

    to areas where the people would no longerconflict with the wildlife. Most went with littlecomplaint. Waiting for them were new houses,more land, and community facilities.

    Ranthambhore was one of the first to becleared of cattle and the other reservesfollowed soon after.

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    Vehicles for different ecosystems:

    Assorted vehicles were donated to enabletransport around the various ecosystems.Speed boats covered the swampy

    Sundarbans, while camels went to aridRanthambhore. Elephants for the rainforests of Manas, bullock carts for Melghat.Diesel-powered jeeps went everywhere.

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    At this point in time the Government spends

    approximately US$75 million per year in an effortto ensure the survival of the Bengal tiger. Yet theamount of this money making it into the field is

    less than ideal.Rangers are desperately short of equipment.

    Items such as boots, even second-hand ones, andbinoculars, are on the much-needed list. Thingsare so desperate that some staff are stranded atguard posts instead of being able to carry out theroutine patrols so necessary to preventing an

    increase in poaching.

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    A villager can earn as much

    in one night by poisoningand skinning a tiger ashe could by farming for 5

    years

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    Most tigers have morethan 100 stripes, and no

    two tigers have identicalstripes.

    A group oftigers is calleda streak.

    The roar of a tiger canbe heard more than amile away

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    The Caspian tiger, Panthera tigris virgata, once ranged inAfghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Mongolia, and the Central Asiaticarea of Russia and probably went extinct in the 1950s.

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