Tigers are a conservation dependent species. Major threats to tigers are poaching that is driven by an illegal international demand for tiger parts and products, depletion of tiger prey, and habitat loss due to the ever increasing demand for forested lands.
In depth aspect about them:
- To gauge the success of conservation efforts as well as to have a finger on the pulse of tiger populations and their ecosystems, the National Tiger Conservation Authority in collaboration with the State Forest Departments, the Wildlife Institute of India and conservation partners conducts a National assessment for the “Status of Tigers, Co-predators, Prey and their Habitat” once in every four years.
- The methodology used for this assessment was approved by the Tiger Task Force in 2005. The first assessment based on this scientific methodology was done in 2006 and subsequently in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
- In 2006, the tiger population was estimated at 1,411 (1,165 to 1,657) which was much lower than the earlier official estimates. This brought about major changes in tiger conservation policy, legislation, and management.
- Special stress was laid on village relocation from core/critical tiger habitats and enhancing protection by creating the Special Tiger Protection Force. Subsequently, these concerted actions resulted in an upward trend in the tiger population as documented by the 2010 population estimates of 1,706.
- However, the 2010 assessment also showed a decline in tiger occupied areas. This decline in tiger occupancy was recorded in areas outside of tiger reserves, indicating loss of habitat quality and extent – a crucial element essential for maintaining genetic connectivity between individual tiger populations.
- To address this vital conservation concern, the NTCA in collaboration with the WII delineated the minimal tiger habitat corridors connecting tiger reserves for implementing landscape scale tiger conservation.
- Now all tiger reserves manage their tiger populations based on a tiger conservation plan (TCP), which addresses specific prescriptions for core, buffer, and corridor habitats. The 2014 assessment, further bore testimony to the inputs provided by Project Tiger and based on the double sampling approach, showed a 30% increase over the previous cycle.
- India now has 70 % of the global tiger population at 2226. 1540 distinct camera trapped photographs of tigers have been obtained and the rest based on sound statistically robust, spatially explicit capture recapture (SECR) models. The fourth cycle of National tiger status assessment of 2018-19 is the most accurate survey conducted.
- The survey covered 381,400 km 2 of forested habitats in 20 tiger occupied states of India. A foot survey of 522,996 km was done for carnivore signs and prey abundance estimation. In these forests, 317,958 habitat plots were sampled for vegetation, human impacts and prey dung.
- Habitat loss and poaching continue to pose a threat to the animal’s survival.
- Tiger parts are used in traditional Chinese medicines, tiger skin is used for decorative and medicinal purposes.
- Habitat degradation by human beings and other natural factors (such as fires and floods).
- The loss of habitat resulted in the reduction of their prey species.
- The Ken-Betwa River interlinking project would have greater impact on Panna Tiger Reserve.
- We have to create a healthy balance between sustainability and development.
- Forest corridors linking protected areas must be maintained where they exist.
- Existing habitats have to be surveyed and improved to provide food for the elephants
- Local communities need to be educated to have reduced stress levels in elephants during conflict mitigation, no fire, no firecracker and no mob crowds.
- There is a need for a monitoring mechanism which will record and disperse information on such conflicts
- Experts suggest the other way to reduce the man-animal conflict is to increase the population of wild ungulates, namely hares and the wild boars, both of which are prolific breeders, as a prey for wild carnivores. Separate big enclosures can be made in the jungles to breed them. The excess stock can be released in the jungles at regular intervals for the wild carnivores to prey upon.
- In order to be truly effective, prevention of human-wildlife conflict has to involve the full scope of society: international organizations, governments, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals. Solutions are possible, but often they also need to have financial backing for their support and development.