Good news is that the tigers may have beaten back threats to its existence for now. But increasingly it appears that the sleek predator’s future in intertwined with that of humans.
Managing these competency interests may be the main challenge for the conservation in the21st century.
Problem in Detail:
Indian tiger population is on the rise but their habitat is shrinking. Are we poised for conflict between humans and the big cats?
Here’s the irony of the tiger numbers released on Monday. The rise in India’s big cat population, which according to the census figures has grown by 12%, brings with it threats of conflict with humans on a scale not seen before.
Uttarakhand – From 47 to 225
Karnataka – From 10 to 300
Uttar Pradesh – 13to 120
Madhya Pradesh – 43 to 257
Tamil Nadu – 87 to163
In a Nutshell:
The main growth in tiger’s number between the last two census exercises has taken place around well-protected tiger reserves which are close to their holding capacity for the large predator. This means tigers are increasingly moving closer to human populations, increasing the chances of conflict and harm to all concerned – the stripped predators, livestock and humans.
Start of a Horror Story:
Tigers are territorial animals. Rising numbers usually goes hand in hand with an increase in their territory. Even though tiger densities do rise with an increase in prey base, there’s a limit.
Expert says that they found tigers moving up and down, looking for new territories and moving closer to habitations."Radio collaring of tigers since 2006 has provided us rich information about their movements. For Intance, they found one tiger which travelled from Kanha to Pench and the back to Kanha."
The Biggest Question We have Now:
It’s relatively easy to mange reserved forests. But how do we mange forests with human habitations? We can’t just turn them into national parks. There are so many factors to consider. We need a national strategy for these areas if serious man- animal conflicts are to be solved.
Thoughts by Our Government:
The government has previously given this problem some thought. In 2005, before the landmark Forest Right Act was promulgated, Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh set up a task force to suggest new ways of conservation that would safeguard the interests of wildlife and humans.
The shrinking of forests will lead to the isolation of the ‘Source populations’ of tigers. Source populations are tigers found in stable numbers at the particular geographical area – in India’s case various tiger reserves and national parks. Source populations are the well springs that sustain tiger numbers. But if they are cut off from other tiger areas, increasing inbreeding weakens the predator strain.