Corridors, not translocation, key to decongesting India’s tiger reserves

Source: The post is based on the article “Corridors, not translocation, key to decongesting India’s tiger reserves” published in The Times of India on 5th June 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment – Tiger Conservation

News: The successful implementation of Project Tiger has led to an increase in the tiger population. Due to which, tiger density in some the reserves have increased.

What are the concerns present with increasing tiger density?

A high density of tiger population has resulted in increased conflicts between humans and animals.

This has caused translocating tigers from the reserves which have a higher density to the reserves which are less congested/empty.

Why is translocation needed?

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What are the concerns with the translocation of tigers?

Read Here: Tiger translocation project: Need and significance – Explained

What are the different views regarding the translocation of tigers?

Some argue that the issue of high tiger density is only a problem in certain over-managed and renowned reserves as vast areas of tiger habitat do not face issues with high density.

While others are of the view that congestion does not necessarily require translocation. There is a need to prevent degradation of forests in buffer areas and the translocation should only be considered as a last resort.

It is also argued that reintroducing prey and stopping hunting is crucial for the survival of translocated tigers.

What can be the course of action?

First, in order to reduce the tiger density, the urgent need is to stop the unscientific practice of habitat manipulation that results in high density of prey.

This includes clearing extra-wide view lines, the famed ‘exotic weed removal’ schemes, the creation of meadows, creating excessive water holes natural as well as artificial, and replenishment in the dry season.

It is believed that natural decline in prey density will eventually lead to a decrease in tiger density.

Second, translocating tigers, along with habitat manipulation, is seen as aggravating the problem rather than solving it. Translocation exercises are costly, particularly when conservation funds are limited.

Instead, corridors between distant reserves can be established to address the issue.

Third, the only solution to tigers spreading into the buffer areas that causes man-animal conflict is the stringent regulation of human activities in those areas and keeping infrastructure development out of the buffer.

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