Failure in repopulating tiger reserve exposes India's tiger conservation weaknesses

NEWS AND COMMENT: Atkosia Tiger Reserve is located in the Angul district of Odisha, India covering an area of 988.30 km². A plan to repopulate the reserve with tigers has failed miserably with a catalogue of disasters.

Failure in tiger conservation in India
Sad failure in tiger conservation in India. Photo: The Hindu file photo.

A tigress imported into the reserve (one of a pair) has been removed from the reserve to be returned to Madhya Pradesh. The tigress's name is Sundari. The tiger was kept in a special enclosure inside the Satkosia Forest before removal. A final act of failure.

Before the return of Sundari it was claimed that the reserve had abundant prey and the management had asked for fresh tigers. 

In the first year of the repopulation a tiger was gifted from Kanha and a tigress from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. 

The tigress strayed into a human settlement surrounding the reserve and killed two people. And then, in Nov 2018, the first tiger was killed by poachers. Comment: poaching of Bengal tigers to supply the Chinese traditional medicine market is commonplace and one of the major current methods of tiger persecution in India. It is a huge barrier to successful tiger conservation.

By 2018 only one tiger remained in the reserve. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) appears to have admitted failure and temporarily given up or suspended the repopulation. They decided that the hostility of locals contributed. And the locals work too much in the reserve using its resources which undermines the purpose of the reserve. 

For the future they want better community participation combined with better law enforcement before another attempt it made.

Some of India's Bengal tiger reserves are almost empty of tigers or they are empty. If tourist visit them they won't see what they have come for.

The story highlights the huge difficulties in tiger conservation in India. As I read it the barriers are too many people and people who don't want the tiger where they live. Without co-operation from local people there is little hope of success.

Source: The Hundu with comment added.



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