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About Valmiki Tiger Reserve

Context:

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) recently declared a notable rise in the tiger population at Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), with the number of big cats increasing from 31 in 2018 to 54 in 2023.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Factors Behind Increased Tiger Population in VTR
  2. Key Features of Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR)
  3. About the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)

Factors Behind Increased Tiger Population in VTR:

  • Sand and Stone Mining Ban: A complete prohibition on sand and stone mining within VTR, coupled with stringent restrictions in its eco-sensitive zone, led to an augmentation of grassland cover.
  • Grassland Expansion: The surge in grassland cover plays a vital role in supporting prey populations, thereby enhancing the prospects of carnivore survival.
  • Conservation Efforts: The reserve is dedicated to managing and sustaining the tiger population through initiatives like raising awareness among local residents and closely monitoring mining activities to mitigate human-wildlife conflict.
  • Recognition by NTCA: The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) acknowledged these efforts, categorizing the reserve as ‘Very Good.’

Key Features of Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR):

  • Unique Status: VTR holds the distinction of being Bihar’s sole tiger reserve, situated at the easternmost extremity of the Himalayan Terai forests.
  • Geographical Location: Located in Bihar’s West Champaran district, it shares borders with Nepal to the north and Uttar Pradesh to the west.
  • Bio-geographic Region: Positioned in the Gangetic plains bio-geographic region, the reserve features a blend of Bhabar and Terai region vegetation.
  • Forest Cover: As per the Forest Survey of India Report 2021, approximately 85.71% of the total area is enveloped by forest cover.
  • Rich Fauna: The diverse wildlife includes species such as tiger, sloth bear, leopard, wild dog, bison, and wild boar.
  • River Flow: The reserve is traversed by rivers like Gandak, Pandai, Manor, Harha, Masan, and Bhapsa, contributing to its ecological diversity.

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA):

  • Establishment: Formed in December 2005 based on the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force, which was appointed by the Prime Minister of India. This reorganization aimed at efficiently managing Project Tiger and multiple Tiger Reserves in the country.
  • Legal Framework: The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to incorporate the establishment of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, tasked with executing the Project Tiger plan to safeguard endangered tigers.
  • Leadership: Chaired by the Minister for Environment and Forests, the Authority comprises eight experts or professionals well-versed in wildlife conservation and tribal welfare. Additionally, it includes three Members of Parliament, with two elected by the House of the People and one by the Council of States.
  • Tiger Census: Conducts a comprehensive tiger census every four years across India to monitor and assess the tiger population and conservation efforts.
Functions and Responsibilities:
  • Normative Standards: Lays down standards and guidelines for tiger conservation in Tiger Reserves, National Parks, and Sanctuaries.
  • Information Dissemination: Provides information on protection measures, conservation plans, tiger estimation, disease surveillance, mortality surveys, patrolling, and other relevant management aspects.
  • Facilitation: Supports tiger reserve management in states through eco-development and people’s participation, aligning with approved management plans. Also, backs similar initiatives in surrounding areas following central and state laws.
  • Reporting: Prepares an Annual Report presented in Parliament along with the Audit Report.

-Source: The Hindu


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