By Chetan Chauhan
Just five tiger reserves in India can sustain big cat population on their own, says the final tiger estimation report.
The preliminary findings of tiger estimation 2014 had recorded 2,226, a 30% increase since 2010, but sources say the final report to be released by end of March will highlight the danger for rising tiger population in India.
“There are not enough green corridors for tigers to disperse and find a new home,” said Qamar Qureshi, co-author of Tiger Estimation 2014 and a senior scientist at the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India. “The report raises ecological issue about future of tigers who are territorial animals.”
The final report has identified just five areas — Corbett National Park (Uttarakhand), Kanha Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh), Sunderbans (in India and Bangladesh), Kaziranga National Park (Assam) and Madhumulai-Nagarhole-Bandipur tiger habitat (Karnataka) — where tigers can survive on their own because of good female population.
Tiger reserves having more than 20 adult tigresses can sustain good population on their own because of genetic viability. The other 35-odd tiger reserves of the total 47 need unbroken wildlife corridors to get gene pool support and sustain the big cat population.
The condition of green corridors connecting tiger reserves have deteriorated in the last four years, the report says. Around 60% of the 2,226 tigers live inside protected areas -- tiger reserves and national parks.
Sources said the final report will show that tiger population has not revived outside the reserves, mainly due to the government announcing a series of linear projects that create hurdle in the movement of animals in the green corridors.
“If we don’t have the green corridors connecting tiger reserves, our protected areas could become glorified zoos,” a senior wildlife ecologist said.