Why in News?
A new study of four wide ranging mammals – Jungle cats, Leopards, Sloth Bears and Tigers in central India – from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, has shown that anthropogenic activities can impact genetic connectivity or the movement among habitat patches usually resulting in mating and genetic exchange.
- Previously Changing landscapes, habitat loss, fragmentation, and global climate change have been listed as the main reason for biodiversity decline worldwide.
- Isolation of habitat patches (due to habitat destruction and fragmentation) can restrict animal movement among habitat patches and thus reduce genetic exchange and increase the probability of extinction.
- Hence maintaining connectivity is critical to ensure long term persistence of a species
- Tigers were impacted the most by high human footprint.
- Although tigers are known to travel long distances and move through agricultural
- fields to some extent, tigers in central India do not have equally high genetic exchange throughout the landscape.
- Some protected areas like Bandhavgarh tiger reserve seem to be getting relatively
- isolated (the 2014 tiger census report also shows the same).
- India has also started paying attention to wildlife corridors and encouraging engineering reforms to promote wildlife movements.
- The Ministry of Environment along with the Wildlife Institute of India released a document that lays out the regulatory requirements for developing roads, railways, powerlines while recognising the impacts on wildlife and people.
- NHAI(National Highways Authority of India) and all PWDs (Public Works Departments) have been instructed to follow the guidelines.