The Corbett national park was the first national park of the Indian subcontinent and is the habitat of the endangered specie of the Bengal tiger. The enchanting beauty amidst the kumaoni hills, the breathtaking landscapes have made it a major tourist hot spot of the country. Wildlife admirers and nature enthusiasts flock this place throughout the year. However the beauty of this place is in danger due the poaching activities, which has resulted in the death of the big cats and lowered their number considerably. These animals are killed for their skin, their various body parts which are sold for a handsome price for various uses. In order to maintain the ecological balance and prevent the tigers from extinction, conservation activities have become very important in this national park. .
The government has started various conservation projects under the supervision of the Corbett foundation. It is a non-profit and non-government organization working towards the conservation activities in the park. This foundation consists of men and women who are conscious towards the environment, protecting the flora and fauna and the natural beauty of the area for a better living.
The government of India in 1972, when the number of tigers dropped to 1800, launched this conservation project. This sudden decline in their numbers signaled the government to take a step towards their protection and take all the major steps required to save them from becoming extinct. This scheme was started with the Corbett national park in 1973 in the dhikala zone and slowly and steadily other tiger reserves were brought under its gambit. The major threat to these cats was poaching and their bones were used in the Chinese and Korean medicines and they were sold for a huge amount. The main aim of this project is to protect the tigers in their natural habitat along with maintaining the balance in nature by preserving the ecosystem. It has received funding from various sources to fulfill its objectives as nobody wants that this precious animal should be just seen in books. A tiger protection force has also been set up to combat the poachers and protect these big cats. Under this project, wireless communication devices, patrolling systems have been installed in the tiger reserves to stop poaching. Plans are to introduce GIS based digitized database, use of information and communication technology in the protection of wildlife. The project operates under the government of India and is associated to the ministry of environment and forests. State governments have administrative control over the project and get full financial support for the project.
This project was launched in 1976 to protect the three species of crocodiles of the nation namely, freshwater crocodile, gharial and saltwater crocodile. The main aim of the project was to ensure the increase in the umber through breeding. The rehabilitation of the gharial was a major emphasis of this crocodile conservation project since it was on a brink of extinction in 1973. Around 250 of gharials were released in the Ramnagar River in the Corbett region between the years 1982 to 1994 as a part of this project to protect this specie from becoming extinct.
It was launched in the year1991- 1992 to save these gigantic animals in their natural habitation. Under this project, the states that had a large population of these animals were given assistance to make the necessary arrangements for the long-term existence of the elephants in the natural abodes. In order to fulfill the goals of the projects the states provided all the necessary financial, scientific technical help. The main objectives of this project were
Interim relief scheme- under this scheme on the spot monetary relief is provided to the affected villagers incase of the killing of the cattle in the buffer zone. Whenever a situation like this arises, the villagers inform the TCF. A team consisting of a tracker, an inspector and a driver conduct an inquiry within 24-36 hours. Parameters like killing by leopard or tiger, age of the animal are assessed. When convinced after the in depth inquiry, then interim relief amount is paid to the villager. Cattle vaccination camp-the Corbett national park lies in the region of heavy rainfall, which increases the chances of diseases in the cattle. Since there is a high risk of these diseases being transferred to the wild animals, the Corbett foundation in collaboration with the Ramnagar veterinary department conducted a veterinary camp, in which approximately 6000 cattle were vaccinated. Many environmental awareness programs are conducted by the Corbett foundation around the park like nature walks, signature campaigns, presentation on tigers In schools, forest fire prevention workshops, regional nature camps, kids for tiger program and many more to create awareness among the people about preserving the nature and the animals to maintain the ecological balance. A conference on the challenges of the tiger protection was also held in the Corbett national park, which was attended by NGO’s like Traffic India, WWF-India, wildlife trust of India. It also had eminent personalities of the media and trustees and staff of the Corbett foundation in attendance. It focused on the measures and efforts required to stop poaching activities through an efficient Tiger reserve force more attention to the conservation activities, to put a stop to forest fires, setting up of Eco friendly hotels and resorts near the national park to reduce the harmful effects of tourist activities on the animals of the reserve, the safety of the tigers through adjoining territorial divisions, effective awareness and sustainable advancement programs to avoid animal-man clash. Conservation of wildlife is very important for maintaining environmental equilibrium. The conservation efforts are not just the responsibility of the government, but also of the people. These projects will be effective with the cooperation of the people. The conservation projects have shown results in the Corbett national park, which can seen from the increase in the number of tourists wanting to visit the place to see the exotic tigers in their natural habitat and enjoy the stunning landscapes and natural beauty of the area.