Need to maintain and augment tiger corridors

Hindustan Times

Badri Chatterjee

In an interview with Hindustan Times, the member-secretary of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) Anup Nayak, spoke about a range of issues pertaining to tiger conservation in Maharashtra and India. From the rise in tiger numbers as per the latest estimates to directions issued to all states about safeguarding tiger habitats and mitigating conflict, Nayak stressed that the safe dispersal of tigers through human-dominated areas is the main challenge India is facing in protecting the big cat.

India published its All India Tiger Estimation results in July with 2,967 individuals (home to 75% of the world’s tiger population) with numbers rising since 2006 at a rate of 6% annually. The current tiger population in Maharashtra stands at 312 as per the latest estimate, a 202%rise since 2006 numbers of 103.

Q. What are the challenges that come across with this 2,967 figure that may soon be listed under the Guinness record?

A. It is heartening to see the tiger numbers rising in India since 2006 at a rate of 6% annually, which indicates that management is taking place in the direct direction. Tigers need sufficient prey, good habitat free from human interference and water. The tigers also need to move from one source area to another for genetic sustainability. Hence there is a need to maintain and augment the corridors for safe migration of dispersing tigers to avoid their straying into human-dominated landscapes. That is the main challenge. We have many more areas in the country that are suitable for tigers, which need to be brought under tiger-centric management.

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