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Maharashtra To Translocate Tigers to Sahyadri Reserve

Maharashtra’s Western Ghats host the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR), a critical habitat for the region’s dwindling tiger population. To bolster tiger numbers, the state government plans to translocate tigers from the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district. However, the success of this endeavor hinges on securing the Sahyadri-Konkan wildlife corridor, which connects STR to vital tiger habitats in Goa and Karnataka.

  • Historically low tiger population: Despite its establishment in 2010, STR has struggled to attract breeding tigers, with only sporadic evidence of tiger presence.
  • Poaching, habitat loss, and prey scarcity: Factors contributing to the low tiger count in the region.
  • Translocation as a short-term solution: While long-term measures like habitat improvement and prey augmentation are vital, translocation from neighboring states presents an immediate opportunity to boost tiger numbers.
  • Expected population increase: Translocation aims to supplement the existing tiger population in STR, with the potential to increase the number of breeding individuals significantly.
  • Mixed success with past translocation projects: Successful cases include Sariska Tiger Reserve and Panna Tiger Reserve, while failures, such as the Satkosia Tiger Reserve, highlight the challenges.
  • Anup Nayak’s perspective: Translocation should be a last resort, preceded by habitat improvement and vigilance enhancement.
  • Importance of securing tiger corridors: Corridors facilitate dispersal and gene flow, enhancing the long-term viability of translocated populations.
  • Lessons from failed projects: Community engagement and addressing local concerns are essential for successful translocation and post-release management.
  • Vital for maintaining connectivity: Corridors link fragmented habitats, allowing for the movement of wildlife and genetic exchange.
  • Importance of mitigation measures: Structures like underpasses and wildlife crossings mitigate the impact of infrastructure projects on wildlife movement.
  • Success stories: The construction of an overpass on National Highway-7 between Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserves demonstrates effective corridor management.
  • Quantitative assessment: The National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India have mapped 32 major tiger corridors, guiding conservation efforts nationwide.
  • Linking critical habitats: The Sahyadri-Konkan corridor connects the Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka to Goa’s forests and STR, facilitating tiger movement across state borders.
  • Fragmentation threats: Human settlements and development activities pose significant challenges to corridor integrity, increasing the risk of human-wildlife conflict.
  • Quantifying tiger dispersal: Tigers from Kali Tiger Reserve regularly disperse into Goa, emphasizing the importance of maintaining connectivity between habitats.
  • Multipurpose significance: Beyond conservation, the corridor contributes to water security and holds cultural importance for local communities.

Maharashtra’s translocation plan for Sahyadri Tiger Reserve presents a promising opportunity to revive tiger populations in the Western Ghats. However, success depends on effectively securing and managing the Sahyadri-Konkan corridor. By prioritizing habitat protection, community engagement, and proactive conservation measures, Maharashtra can ensure the long-term survival of its tiger population.

  1. Why translocate tigers instead of other conservation methods?
    • Translocation provides an immediate boost to tiger numbers, supplementing long-term conservation efforts.
  2. How do wildlife corridors benefit tiger conservation?
    • Corridors facilitate dispersal, genetic exchange, and mitigate human-wildlife conflicts, ensuring population viability.
  3. What challenges are faced in securing wildlife corridors?
    • Human encroachment and infrastructure development fragment habitats, threatening corridor integrity.
  4. Why is the Sahyadri-Konkan corridor particularly important?
    • It connects critical tiger habitats across state borders, essential for maintaining genetic diversity and long-term population health.

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May 2024