Needed intervention – on Tiger conservation

Source– The post is based on the article “Needed intervention” published in “The Hindu” on 11th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Environment

Relevance: Issues related to conservation of ecosystem

News – The Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority recently released the Tiger Census report.

What are factors behind good performance of Madhya Pradesh in maintaining a healthy tiger population?

Madhya Pradesh, for the second time reported 785 tigers. It is about a fifth of the national count. The State reported a 50% rise in tigers since the last census.

Madhya Pradesh has developed a strategy over time that actively involves the relocation of both tigers and their prey within the state.

The objective of this approach is to establish a balance between the numbers of predators and their prey.

During the past couple of decades, M.P. has effectively reintroduced species like barasingha into habitats like Satpura and Bandhavgarh, and gaur into the Bandhavgarh and Sanjay-Dubri tiger reserves.

Additionally, they have successfully bolstered the populations of prey species like chital in regions such as Satpura and Sanjay tiger reserves, Nauradehi, Kuno, and Gandhisagar wildlife sanctuaries by transferring them from areas with higher densities.

What are issues with the current approach of the government towards conservation of animal species?

The principles of ecology stress the importance of relocating species to environments that are not overly unfamiliar to them, to prevent unintended adverse consequences.

However, recent amendments to the Forest Conservation Act have introduced greater flexibility in diverting significant portions of forest land for industrial use.

It could result in more fragmentation within protected areas and an increased reliance on the practice of relocating prey to sustain predator populations.

This approach is increasingly at odds with India’s conservation philosophy. This conservation philosophy avoids creating isolated and enclosed spaces. It encourages species to inhabit larger yet well-defined territories.

Way forward

Government faces challenges in maintaining connected forest landscapes. Therefore, relying solely on nature to restore the balance between predators and prey becomes unrealistic.

It’s now crucial for more states to adopt proactive policies for managing prey populations. It involves leveraging scientific expertise and support from local communities near reserves.

There is a need to shift from merely focusing on the numbers of carnivores. It is important to constantly improve the habitat required to sustain these animals.

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