Wildlife protection and crime risk management in the present scenario requires a widely distributed Information Network, using state-of-the-art information and communication technology. This becomes all the more important to ensure the desired level of protection in field formations to safeguard the impressive gains of a focused project like ‘Project Tiger’. The important elements in wildlife protection and control are: Mapping/Plot (graphics)plotting the relative spatial abundance of wild animals, identification of risk factors, proximity to risk factors, ‘sensitivity categorization’, ‘crime mapping’ and immediate action for apprehending the offenders based on effective networking and communication. Six countries, including Russia and China, have sought India’s help to replicate Project Tiger, one of the most successful conservation programmes running in the country to protect the big cats from extinction.
During the first stock-taking conference held in the capital in mid-May to review implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP), tiger range countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Russia, Vietnam, Myanmar and China approached India to help them in conserving tigers. Considering the urgency of the situation, Project Tiger was converted into NTCA, a statutory authority, in 2006 with more power and separate funding for the conservation of tigers. India took a lead in tiger conservation by forming the Global Tiger Forum (GTF), an international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the animal. India’s Environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan currently chairs the forum.
Other members include Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar. India and Russia have recently come up with a joint resolution of agreed action to protect tigers. Collaboration on tiger conservation is already going on with Nepal, while Bangladesh, Vietnam and Myanmar want India’s help in assessment and capacity building. India’s success story in reintroducing tigers from wild to wild has generated keen interest Space technology has shown the interconnectivity of natural and anthropogenic phenomena occurring anywhere on earth. Several tiger reserves are being linked with the Project Tiger Directorate in the GIS domain for Wildlife Crime Risk Management. A ‘Tiger Atlas of India’ and a ‘Tiger Habitat and Population Evaluation System’ for the country is being developed using state-of-the-art technology. This involves:
* Mapping, data acquisition and GIS modeling
* Field data collection and validation
* Data Maintenance, dissemination and use
Satellite data is being used and classified into vegetation and land use maps on a 1:50,000 scale, with digitized data relating to contour, villages, roads, drainage, administrative boundaries and soil. The spatial layers would be attached with attribute data, viz. human population, livestock population, meteorological data, agricultural information and field data pertaining to wildlife, habitat for evolving regional protocols to monitor tigers and their habitat. Conservation of tigers and their prey species faces challenges from the need for income, lack of awareness, and lack of land use policy in landscapes having Tiger Reserves. On 24 July 2012, the Supreme court coming heavily on several defaulting States for not having notified buffer zones as directed earlier by the Court, directed that there should be no tourisim activity in the core region of a tiger reserve across the country