Rishikesh: Forty years of tiger conservation efforts in the country seem to have borne fruit with the number of big cats rising more than five times from 268 in 1973.
"When project tiger was launched from Corbett`s Dhikala range in 1973, tiger population in the country stood at 268. It has now risen to 1,468," Corbett Tiger Reserve Director Ranjan Mishra said today quoting an official estimate.
Attributing the rise to tireless tiger conservation efforts over the last 40 years, he said the scenario would have been unimaginable if the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had not launched India`s first Tiger Project from CTR`s Dhikala range in 1973.
To mark the completion of four decades of tiger conservation efforts in the country, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna will inaugurate a panel discussion on the subject at CTR`s Dhikala range on April 1, Mishra said.
It was on April 1, 1973 that the then Union Minister Karan Singh launched India`s first Tiger Project from CTR`s Dhikala forest range, he said.
Currently there are 27 tiger reserves across the country spread over an area of 37,761 sq km which constitutes 1.14 per cent of the country`s total geographical area, he said.
The first Director of the country`s Tiger Project nonagenarian Veer Bahadur Singh also credits Indira Gandhi for all this saying it was she who accorded the national animal its well deserved constitutional status which later manifested itself in the form of a tiger conservation programme like Project Tiger.