Indian seminar celebrates 20 years of saving tigers

2024 marks an extraordinary 20-year milestone for the Satpuda Landscape Tiger Partnership (SLTP), a collective of organisations founded by Born Free, working to protect the tigers of India’s Satpuda Landscape.

An adult tiger walking through a forested area

© Yashvardhan Dalmia

As the SLTP enters its 20th year, partner representatives, team members and delegates, including Born Free’s Network Support Consultant Yashvardhan Dalmia, have arrived in Bijaria village in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, Central India for SLTP’s annual seminar, on 11th and 12th January. 

Taking place with a backdrop of a world-renowned tiger reserve sprawling the Vindhya Hills in the district of Madhya Pradesh, this year’s seminar is marking 20 years of operation and celebrating the many successes in tiger conservation across the Satpuda Landscape of Central India, not least a significant increase in tiger numbers.

The conception of SLTP in 2004 brought together a core group of Indian conservation organisations with Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), and Born Free’s support and funding. The resulting partnership had the goal of safeguarding a future for Endangered tigers within and between the seven tiger reserves of Satpuda Landscape, one of India’s most critical stretches of tiger habitat.

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Home to around 3,000 tigers, India boasts a large proportion of the world’s remaining wild tigers. At the programme’s launch in 2004, only around 460 tigers lived across the entire landscape, but now an estimated 1,100 tigers inhabit the Satpuda Landscape. This astonishing increase in numbers is in part thanks to the dedication and passion of the nine SLTP partners who have implemented a multitude of activities in the region over the years.

A group of people holding a large banner and standing on the steps of a building

Partner representatives at SLTP’s 2023 annual seminar (c) Yashvardhan Dalmia

SLTP’s implementation partners – Bombay Natural History Society, Conservation Action Trust, The Corbett Foundation, Nature Conservation Society Amravati, Satpuda Foundation, Tiger Research & Conservation Trust, Wildlife Conservation Trust, BAAVAN and the Network for Conserving Central India – have delivered initiatives including conservation education, rural health, human-tiger conflict mitigation, landscape restoration, policy advocacy and research. Cumulatively, the partners have reached more than 40,000 local community members every year through Born Free supported projects, have trained more than 15,500 forest personnel on law enforcement and conflict mitigation, have educated more than 480,000 school students through various nature education programmes and have provided medical support for over 210,000 community members.

Furthermore, their impact and learning has been amplified thanks to the SLTP network’s information sharing platforms, such as regular meetings and this annual seminar.

As SLTP completes 20 years and the tigers of Bandhavgarh can be heard in the distance, the seminar participants will use all lessons learnt and apply them to the years to come, review the key threats to tigers over coming decades, discuss the ways in which SLTP and its work may need to evolve and adapt, and start to build the foundations of the next 20 years of tiger conservation.

We hope that you’ll come along with us on this continuing journey.