In the early 70’s there were apparently only 1800 tigers left roaming the Indian plains, thanks to merciless poaching and de-forestation. Officials at that time scurried to reverse this alarming decline in this species, launching “Project Tiger” in 1972 at Corbett National Park. Bogged down by non-approval of management plans and poor funding since its launch, it’s good to know that the Indian government just announced that it is considering opening eight more sanctuaries for tigers and three for elephants, as part of its ongoing conservation plan. The increase in allocation for tiger conservation (up by 36%) comes in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh personally visiting Ranthambhore National Park last year, following reports that tigers were on the verge of extinction.
However, the protection of pachyderms under Project Elephant, set up in 1992, received a blow to its funding which decreased by 13.7%. It hasn’t had much success to show – there has been no increase in population, and like the tiger, the elephant continues to fall prey to deforestation, poachers and elephant-man conflicts.