By Jenn Selby
An entire Indian village is set to be relocated as part of a new £1million project, backed by Sir David Attenborough, to stop the Bengal tiger from becoming extinct and prevent them from consuming humans.
Conservationists working with UK charity the World Land Trust (WLT) in partnership with the Wildlife Trust of India predict that the bold move will aid the creation of the most densely packed community of tigers on the planet.
In just four years, seven people have been killed by the rare big cats in the area, which separates two of the largest tiger populations - the Corbett tiger reserve and the Ramnagar forest in the north Indian state of Uttarakhand.
As part of the campaign, the fundraising for which starts today, conservationists will buy the land between the two places to host the tigers, alongside other endangered creatures.
The Chilkiya-Kota corridor, as the strip of land is known, is an ancient route used by animals to pass between the forest. However, their passageway is being disrupted by the local people who now live there, according to the Guardian.Over half of the people killed by tigers are women, who are often attacked when they are foraging in the forest for food and wood. Large numbers of livestock are also killed.
As a result, the project intends to move around 50 families from their village in Chilkiya-Kota to new, safer homes a few miles away in the first phase of the project, and an increasing number in the second and third phase. Around 200 people will be re-homed in total.
Each of the families will be provided with sanitised, properly built homes and access to schools for their children.
“Tigers are magnificent creatures,” Sir David said of the campaign. “It would be a tragedy of truly monumental proportions if they were to be lost to the world.
“Not only that, it would be totally inexcusable on our part but if we don’t act fast to provide them with suitable territory to live in, they will disappear. We mustn’t let that happen.”
“Lions used to exist in Europe,” John Burton, chief executive of the World Land Trust, added. “They wouldn’t be tolerated now. We are asking a lot of the Indian people to live alongside such big predators.
“We are beholden to do as much as we can to support them.”