4 Important Breeding Programs to Protect Endangered Species in India

To prevent dwindling and eventual extinction of endangered wildlife, several projects have been introduced by the Indian government, particularly since the last four decades. They include Project Tiger, Project Elephant, Project Hangul, etc.

1. Project Tiger:

Project Tiger was launched in April 1973, with a mandate to conserve tigers in a holistic manner. Today, it has emerged as one of most successful wildlife conservation efforts. Its main endeavour is to ensure that a viable population of tigers is maintained in India, in their natural environment, for their scientific, ecological, economic, aesthetic and cultural values. The project strives for tiger conservation in specially constituted tiger reserves, spread across the country, which are representatives of various bio-geographical regions.

The project has been a roaring success story so far. Initially, the project started with nine tiger reserves, covering an area of 16,339 sq km, with a population of 268 tigers. By 2007, there were 40 Project Tiger wildlife reserves in India, covering an area of 37,761 sq km. The project has not only helped to protect tigers, but strived for protection of the entire ecosystem which is necessary for the tiger’s habitat. Project Tiger has facilitated to increase the population of these tigers from 1200 in the 1970s to 3500 in 1990s.

However, a recent census held by the Government of India, revealed that the tiger population had plummeted to 1411. Since then the government has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat the poachers, and has relocated more than 200,000 villages to minimise human-tiger interaction.

2. Project Elephant:

Project Elephant was launched by the Government of India in 1992. Under this centrally sponsored scheme, states which have a free-ranging population of wild elephants are provided financial, technical and scientific assistance for ensuring long-term survival of identified viable population of elephants in their natural habitats.

Project Elephant also aims for

i. Supporting research of the ecology and management of elephants,

ii .Development of scientific planning for conservation of elephant habitats and elephant populations,

iii. Promotion of measures for mitigation of man- elephant conflict in crucial habitats,

iv. Protection of elephant corridors,

v. Striving for improved vet care for captive elephants,

vi. Addressing the issues of human-elephant conflicts, and

vii. Welfare of domesticated elephants.

The project is being implemented in 13 states, which are Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Karnataka, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

3. Crocodile Breeding Project:

With assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Indian government started a crocodile breeding and management project in Orissa, in 1975. The scheme was later extended to other states. The crocodile breeding projects have been successful in increasing the number of crocodiles over the decades.

4. Project Hangul:

The state of Jammu & Kashmir has entered into a joint collaboration with International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Worldwide Fund of Nature (WWF) for conservation and protection of hangul. The project has so far been a success, as the breeding programmes have resulted in a significant increase in the hangul population.

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