By Rakesh Shukla
This article was originally published in the print edition of Central Chronicle of Bhopal on September 30, 2010. The full article is being reproduced here with the author’s permission.
One of the most ambitious conservation schemes of its own kind in the world, Project Tiger initially recorded tremendous success with amazingly perceptible results in first stabilizing and later increasing tiger populations in the tiger reserve areas. The general restoration of ecological damage, the strengthening of protection, and improvement of infrastructures were commendably carried out in these wildlife ecosystems. The national and international community also heaved a sigh of relief that the tiger in this county was now back from a very critical brink and would ultimately reach a safer status, specially in the tiger reserve areas. There are now 41 tiger reserves in 17 states of the country, with a total area of 40,969 sq.km, which is only around 1.15% of the total geographic area of our country.
Amid this applause and complacence of the mid-Eighties, the bad news started trickling in that some of these tiger bastions were not so safe after all, and general forest areas, which harbored about 50% of the country