The goals 53,547 km2 (20,675 sq mi) of declared reserves are operated by state forestry departments “to ensure maintenance of viable populations of the conservation dependentBengal tigers in India. The tigers are maintained for their scientific, economic, aesthetic, cultural and ecological values and to preserve for all time areas of biological importance as a national heritage for the benefit, education and enjoyment of the people”.
The landmark 2008 report, Status of the Tigers, Co-predators, and Prey in India, published by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, estimated only 1411 adult tigers in existence in India (plus uncensused tigers in the Sundarbans). The 2010 National Tiger Assessment estimated the total population of tigers in India as 1,706. This exhaustive study indicated that better protected tiger source sites, especially tiger reserves, have maintained viable tiger populations, however, the area occupied by tigers outside protected areas has decreased considerably. This demonstrates the need for securing corridors for tigers to move between source sites. The existing tiger reserves represent around one-third of India's high density forest area. In 2010-11, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in partnership with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) undertook an independent Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of all 44 tiger reserves in the country. The reserves were categorized into 4 major categories.
3 year-old male in Ranthambore tiger reserve, Rajasthan
Tigress with her two cubs in Kanha tiger reserve, Madhya Pradesh
A Tiger in Bandhavgarh tiger reserve, Madhya Pradesh
Tiger at Ranthambore tiger reserve, Rajasthan
Tiger T-17 at Ranthambore tiger reserve, Rajasthan
Tiger at Ranthambore tiger reserve
Tiger pug marks at Sunderbans tiger reserve, West Bengal
Spotted deer tiger prey at Jim Corbett tiger reserve, Uttarakhand