PM Article April 2020

The Featured Project: Project Tiger

Raju D Dhole, PMP

Raju D Dhole has over 20+ years of experience in project management. He has keen interest in managing projects using Agile methods. He has rich experience in managing large muti geography projects.

The Featured Project is a new addition to Essence from Jan 2020 edition. This section aims to introduce and celebrate excellence in project management from mega projects across the world. Moving away from buildings and bridges, we focus on an interesting project that ensured we didn’t have to pick a new national animal. We are proud to cover Project Tiger, a project that was launched to save the tiger and its habitats. Significantly, Project Tiger is also listed in PMI’s Most influential 100 project’s list.


Project Tiger was launched to rescue the majestic big cat from the brink of extinction in the wild.

The Government of India has taken a pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching the ‘Project Tiger’ in 1973. From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 50 at present, spread out in 18 of our tiger range states. This amounts to around 2.21% of the geographical area of our country.

Project Milestones:




Project Tiger Launched


9 tiger reserves were established in different States


Project Tiger became centrally Sponsored Scheme with equal sharing of expenditure between the center and the states.


From a mere 268 in 9 reserves in 1972 tiger population increased to 1576 in 27 reserves in 2003


50 tiger reserves in 18 States. Tiger population of around 3000


24X7 e-surveillance launched in Kaziranga Tiger Reserve (Assam) and fringes of Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary (Madhya Pradesh).


Why Project Tiger and what has it achieved?

One of the world’s fiercest apex predators was locked in the battle of its life—and it was losing.

At the turn of the 20th century, 100,000 tigers roamed the wilds of Asia, with India home to roughly 40,000 of the beasts. By 1972, that number had dropped to just 1,827. Determined not to let the tiger exist only in zoos, India’s government launched an ambitious project in 1973 to establish ranger-protected havens in national parks. Called Project Tiger, it aimed to boost the number of tigers by conserving their dwindling habitats and ecosystems. And it worked: India today boasts roughly 70 percent of the world’s tiger population with nearly 3,000 of the big cats living on 50 reserves.

Wireless communication systems and outstation patrol camps have been developed within the tiger reserves, due to which poaching has declined considerably. Fire protection is effectively done by suitable preventive and control measures. Voluntary Village relocation has been done in many reserves, especially from the core area. Livestock grazing has been controlled to a great extent in the tiger reserves. Various compensatory developmental works have improved the water regime and the ground and field level vegetation, thereby increasing the animal density.

Challenges faced:

During initial days, there were issues in implementation. Experts blamed the problems on inadequate law enforcement and a porous management system.

Project Tiger’s efforts were hampered by poaching, as well as debacles and irregularities in Sariska and Namdapha, both of which were reported extensively in the Indian media.

Using latest technology for census and tracking:

By 2017—project leaders deployed a new high-tech system to monitor tiger habitats more accurately. Partnering with external stakeholders to implement remote sensing, geographic information systems, GPS, and high-resolution spatial data and camera trapping, the group was better able to estimate the population of tigers (and their prey). “Age-old techniques are now replaced by more reliable and easy-to-use population enumeration techniques. Going forward, the technology might help curb poaching too.

Trial of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for monitoring done in the Panna Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh) is in progress, in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India and now getting extended to 13 other tiger reserves.  Frontline staff capacity has been built and the first set of equipment was handed over at the Panna Tiger Reserve.

In summary:

Due to concerted efforts under Project Tiger, at present India has the distinction of having the maximum number of tigers in the world (~3000) as per 2018 assessment, when compared to other tiger range countries.

INR2,500 Average benefits realized for each INR1 spent on tiger reserve management.


Special PMI 50th Anniversary Edition, PM Network