The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) and the Uttar Pradesh Forest department have bagged the first-ever international award, TX2, for doubling the number of tigers in four years against a target of 10 years.
PTR was the first to receive the award among 13 tiger range countries.
It achieved this goal in just four years from 2014, when it had 25 tigers which went up to 65 in 2018.
The award was virtually presented to the principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) of the state, Sunil Pandey, by UNDP’s (United Nations Development Program) head of ecosystems and biodiversity, Mindori Paxton.
Pandey said the global target of doubling the tiger population was set in 2010 by the partners in TX2 award — UNDP, Global Tiger Forum, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Wide Fund for Nature, Conservation Assured/Tiger Standards and the Lion’s Share.
Naveen Khandelwal, deputy director of PTR, had applied for this award in September this year after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) released this year’s the state-wise figures of the tiger estimation which was based on the census conducted in 2018 in all tiger reserves across the country.
Khandelwal said no other tiger reserve among all the 13 tiger range countries could succeed in doubling the big cat population in a span of 10 years.
He said as per the NTCA’s tiger estimation report, the PTR had 57 resident and eight transit tigers in 2018. This figure did not include the tiger cubs below the age of one year. The growth of 40 tigers in a short span of four years was recognized for the TX2 award.
He attributed the success to rigorous patrolling with constant use of Monitoring System for Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status (M-STrIPE), stringent action against wildlife criminals and poachers and forest and grassland management. The efforts of the forest staff, local stakeholders and wildlife enthusiasts in tiger conservation paid off, the official said.