The Palamau Tiger Reserve was constituted in the year 1974 under PROJECT TIGER. It is one of the first nine tiger reserves created in the country at inception of ‘Project Tiger’. Palamau Tiger Reserve has the distinction of being the first sanctuary in the world in which a tiger census was carried out as a pugmark count, as early as 1932 under the supervision of J.W. Nicholson, the then DFO, Palamau.
The present day core was important bamboo and timber extraction area of Forest Department. The area was closed for grazing, timber and any type of NTFP collection. The extensive fire management, soil and moisture conservation measures were adopted. The wildlife management practices in the core area were also initiated simultaneously. The grass lands were created by removing the climbers. The waterhole management, artificial salt soil blocks, provisions and very strict anti-poaching mechanism with the help of local communities resulted in overall improvement in habitat and wildlife.
In the period from 1986 to 1995, the Naxalite insurgency started in the area followed by combing operation by local and central police forces. The increased presence of both hampered the movement of protection staff. The staffs were beaten up, vehicles and rest houses were burnt. The field staffs were forced to live in range headquarters. The area faced massive drought. The overall impacts of all these situations resulted in the deterioration in habitat condition; grazing by domestic cattle; infestation of weeds in grasslands and frequent forest-fire.
In the period from 1996 to 2015 the Naxalite activities continued to be followed. CRPF camps at different location of PTR were stationed. The combing operation, firing from both the sides did occur. The gradual retirement of field staff and vacant posts to the tune of about 95% is also a major factor. The habitat augmentation, cleaning of grasslands, water provision with soil and moisture conservation schemes has been initiated in this period. The local communities were also involved in the conservation.
Presently the total area of Palamau Tiger Reserve is 1129.93 Km2. The Core Area of Palamau Tiger Reserve has been delineated and duly notified by the Government of Jharkhand vide notification no. WILDLIFE23/07-6589 dated 31-12-2007. The total Core Area is 414.08 km2. The buffer area of the Palamau Tiger Reserve has been delineated and duly notified by the Government of Jharkhand vide notification no. WILDLIFE-05/2012-2911 dated 14.07.2012. The buffer area spreads over 715.85 km2.