Too Much Human Interference With the Wild Tiger In India Is Bad

It is claimed by Valmik Thapar that there is too much interference with the wild tiger in the Indian tiger reserves. The main culprits are the forest managers. The sort of interference that takes place is:
  • Artificial feeding of orphaned cubs until they are adults;
  • Providing food to injured and slightly injured tigers to help in their recovery;
  • To sedate injured tigers with tranquiliser guns and then treat them with antibiotics;
  • To relocate tigers and manhandle them once they are tranquillised. Relocated tigers are often followed and chased in order to confine them to a certain part of the forest. Many people are employed to force them to change direction using noise reminiscent of the days when tigers were hunted and driven into the guns of professional or paying hunters;
  • To artificially bait the tigers. Apparently, this increases their longevity as it makes them easier to watch and to photograph;
  • We are also told that on occasions water tankers are employed to provide water to thirsty tigers.
Bandhavgarh TigerReserve

It would seem that the Indian tiger reserves are somewhat like zoos with zookeepers looking after the tigers. Mr Thapar states that in line with an increase in handling, collaring, tranquillising and feeding tigers there's been an equivalent increase in the number of attacks on people. I suppose this is to be expected because you're putting people in close proximity of wild tigers.

Image in public domain.

There may be unforeseen consequences as well when tigers become habituated to human contact and we know, for instance, that moving tigers to new areas is problematic because tigers establish their own range called a home range and when you disturb that little ecosystem you end up with tigers fighting each other because the new tiger that has just been relocated is liable to enter into a fight with an established tiger.

The argument is that it is far better to let nature take its course and only interfere when it is absolutely necessary. This appears not to be the case at present.

It is understandable that there is this high level of interference because the park rangers and managers are obviously desperate to conserve tigers as their population numbers are quite low in some of these reserves and the tigers are constantly under threat from poachers and for example encroachment from commercial development around the perimeters of the parks.

It is also claimed that there is too much interference by tourists who are lucky to see a tiger.
Valmik Thapar
Valmik Thapar
Valmik Thapar

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