Tiger Conservation and Habitat Enhancement
The Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, entrusted with the periodic ‘tiger census,’ have recently revised their assessments of tiger numbers. Madhya Pradesh (M.P.), accounting for a fifth of the national count, has reported 785 tigers, marking a 50% increase since the last census.
GS Paper – 3 (Conservation, Government Policies & Interventions)
- National Tiger Conservation Authority
- Project tiger
- Forest Conservation Act
- Discuss the strategies employed by Madhya Pradesh for tiger conservation and the potential challenges associated with such approaches. 150 words.
Dimensions of the Article:
- Strategic Relocations and Prey Enhancement
- Challenges in the Changing Landscape
- Active Prey Management and Habitat Improvement
Strategic Relocations and Prey Enhancement:
- Madhya Pradesh, over the past two decades, has successfully reintroduced species like the swamp deer and the gaur to new habitats like Satpuda and Bandhavgarh.
- The Bandhavgarh and Sanjay-Dubri tiger reserves have seen the return of the gaur.
- The Satpuda and Sanjay tiger reserves, Nauradehi, Kuno, and Gandhisagar wildlife sanctuaries have experienced successful supplementation of prey species such as the spotted deer, achieved through translocations from the densely populated Pench and Bandhavgarh regions.
- These initiatives necessitate intricate processes involving animal tracking, darting, and temporary enclosures until the desired population is achieved.
- Nonetheless, ecological principles underscore the importance of relocating species only to environments that are not overly unfamiliar, to prevent unintended consequences.
Challenges in the Changing Landscape:
- Recent revisions to the Forest Conservation Act have introduced more flexibility in diverting significant portions of forest land for industrial use.
- This development threatens to fragment reserves, increasing reliance on the practice of relocating prey to uphold carnivore numbers.
- This predicament stands in contrast to India’s conservation philosophy, which aims to prevent the creation of enclosed, isolated areas and instead seeks to allow species to coexist with human activities.
- The foundational principle of projects like Project Tiger was to augment tiger numbers in a manner that accommodates harmonious cohabitation with humans.
- The challenges of maintaining connected forest landscapes and ensuring peaceful coexistence between humans and animals have prompted a realization that relying solely on natural processes to restore predator-prey equilibrium is unrealistic.
Active Prey Management and Habitat Improvement:
- This situation underscores the necessity for more states to embrace active prey management policies.
- Such policies require collaboration with scientific experts and the support of local residents near reserves.
- Importantly, this shift should pivot the focus from merely monitoring carnivore numbers to consistently enhancing the habitat that sustains these animals.
- Upholding this focus would require concerted efforts and a sustained commitment to habitat improvement.
To preserve the delicate balance between human activities and wildlife, it is imperative for states to adopt strategies that blend scientific insights with community participation. Actively managing prey populations and safeguarding the habitat’s health are paramount in this endeavor. It’s also vital for policies to be continually adapted to changing circumstances, ensuring the long-term well-being of both tigers and their ecosystems.
As the population of tigers in Madhya Pradesh and across the nation experiences fluctuations, the spotlight should shine on sustainable strategies. Balancing human needs with ecological well-being remains a challenge. By fostering an environment of collaboration and dynamic adaptation, we can aspire to a future where tigers roam freely amidst a thriving ecosystem.