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Tiger State MP

Why Save Tigers?

The presence of tiger symbolizes a healthy ecosystem as it is an umbrella species. Tiger is symbol of wilderness and well-being of the ecosystem. By conserving and saving tigers the entire wilderness of ecosystem is conserved. In nature, barring human beings and their domesticate, rest of the ecosystem is wild. Hence conserving wilderness is important and crucial to maintain the life support system. So, saving tiger amounts to saving the ecosystem which is crucial for man's own survival.
After Independence, India as a country was focused on socio-economic development while wildlife hunting was quite prominent initially. However after the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 came into existence the idea of Environment, Wildlife and Tiger Conservation started to make its mark in the country. In year 2000, number to Tigers in the country were estimated to be 4000 and 700 in state of Madhya Pradesh. However in the tiger census of 2006, only 1411 tigers were estimated in the whole country. This was way less than the estimated 4000 in the year 2000, while their number in the state was estimated only to be 300. Although Madhya Pradesh remained the state with the highest number of tigers in 2006, but the declining numbers were a matter of concern. To add to the woes, a news came in year 2008 that the Panna Tiger Reserve, considered to be the pride of the state, became tigerless.

In the All India Tiger Census of 2010 the numbers of Tigers in the state were estimated at 257. Madhya Pradesh since long had been identified with its dense forest and tigers living in those forests, however after registering the presence of 257 tigers in All India Tiger Census 2010, Karnataka was given the status of Tiger State of India.

In the Tiger Census of year 2014, presence of 308 tigers was estimated in Madhya Pradesh, and by then the state had slipped further to third place after Karnataka and Uttarakhand in terms of number of Tigers. Even though 286 tigers were recorded in the camera traps, much more than 260 in Karnataka and 267 in Uttarakhand; the final figures of the census, the numbers of tigers estimated in Karnataka stood at 406, against estimate of 308 Tigers in Madhya Pradesh.
Learning lessons from the results of All India Tiger Census 2014, a focused approach toward conservation and management was taken up by the Forest Department and the census of 2018 was taken as a mission. In Madhya Pradesh the frontline staff regularly reported of Tigers roaming outside the protected areas and their management was a tough challenge; most important task being protecting tigers from poachers and to manage their habitat and food etc. The officers/staff of the department left no stone unturned for conservation and management of tigers in spite of adverse conditions, as a result of which the state regained its lost status of being the Tiger State of India in the year 2019 with the announcement of results of All India Tiger Estimation 2018.
A Three pronged strategy was devised for the census of tigers of 2018. First, more attention was given to those areas where there were higher cases of cattle killing by tigers. While 1000 cattle were hunted by tigers in the year 2009-10, the number had increased to 3000 in 2017-18. Cattles are the preferred prey of tigers in the buffer zones of Tiger Reserves and areas outside of Protected Area. It was quite evident that the number of tigers present in the buffer zones/unprotected areas was also quite high along with the core zones of the Tiger Reserves and special attention was paid to such areas.
Second, very well structed training was given to the employees of the department to make them well versed with all the steps, procedures as well as to use the innovative GIS Mapping/MStripes Software to utilized for calculations and recording of data. Instead of the usual practice of training senior officers , about 250 ground staff (forest guard, deputy forest guard, etc) were trained to become the master trainers. As master trainer they then trained 9000 forest guards and 4500 senior officers as well as the volunteers for the census. This was done keeping in view a futuristic thought that the ground staff would not only help in getting accurate data during estimation of 2018 but would also be more attentive about their area and inform the department about the presence of wildlife in their area in future. With better information, better management of wildlife can be achieved. Training program was organized after dividing all 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh into 7 zones (Tiger Reserves - Kanha/Satpura/Bandhavgarh/Pench/Panna, Madhav National Park and Ujjain). Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur and WWF played an important role during these training program.
Third, Social media and smart phone apps were also used to motivate employees as well as for quick communication. Posters and various slogans were used to encourage the employees/officers which were circulated using social media and other apps. The limited availability of various scientific equipment and the lack of resources were also overcome by the department. Equipment and resources were used in one area in a time bound manner and then transported to other places within least possible time to cover as much area as possible.

The Roar is back and its louder

During the tiger census 2018, more than 12000 forest workers and hundreds of volunteers searched every nook and corner of the forests to find evidence of the presence of the tiger. Finally their hard work paid off and the state regained the status of the tiger state. The title of Tiger State is because of all the employees who sacrificed their personal time, living in inaccessible forests, staying away from their family members for the protection of the wildlife and Tigers. In Madhya Pradesh the Estimate of Tiger as per AITE 2018 now stands at 526 as against 524 for Karnataka. Madhya Pradesh is currently the Tiger State of India.
The districts of Madhya Pradesh in which the presence of tigers have been recorded are as follows -
1. Bhopal 2. Raisen 3. Sehore 4. Vidisha 5. Sheopur 6. Datia 7. Burhanpur 8. Indore 9. Khandwa 10. Balaghat 11. Chhindwara 12. Jabalpur 13. Katni 14. Mandla 15. Narsinghpur 16. Seoni 17. Betul 18. Harda 19. Hoshangabad 20. Rewa 21. Satna 22. Sidhi 23. Chhatarpur 24. Damoh 25. Panna 26. Sagar 27. Shahdol 28. Umaria 29. Dewas.

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