Project Tiger @50: Success but at What Cost? – Frontline

Rajkamal Goswami, Abi Tamim Vanak

Frontline – The Hindu | April 20, 2023

It is the 50th anniversary of arguably one of the most important pieces of legislation in Indian history. The Wild Life (Protection) Act (WLPA) of India was passed in 1972 with the goal of safeguarding the nation’s wild animals and birds and their habitats. The legislation established protected areas, prohibited hunting of most species of wildlife, and created a new “protectionist” paradigm for conservation of wildlife in India. The law was enacted in response to concerns that wildlife, the tiger in particular, was in danger of extinction due to uncontrolled hunting. The concept of an “umbrella species” was used to justify focussing protection efforts on tigers, as they occupy the top of the ecological food pyramid, to ensure that the entire food chain remained healthy and safeguarded.