How infrastructure development harms tiger conservation in India

This is a classic and very instructive video from India showing how roads and traffic carve up a tiger's home range fragmenting it and killing tigers both through traffic accidents and creating small, unviable sub-populations where genetic diversity is problematic leading to inbreeding and health issues plus sterility.

The following quote comes from the IUCN Red List. The people who run the database are the experts on species becoming extinct. The text in brackets is the source of the information. These are scientific studies.

"Habitat fragmentation driven by linear infrastructure development, land-use change, and urbanization can drive the extinction of tiger subpopulations (e.g., Mondal and Nagendra 2011, Joshi et al. 2016). Tigers can become locally or functionally extinct in areas where habitat connectivity is severed or severely compromised (Gopal et al. 2010; Harihar et al. 2018b, 2020)."

They talk of habitat connectivity being compromised. This means that areas of habitat which are connected to other areas by corridors are being disconnected leaving two small areas which is called 'fragmentation of habitat'. It is one of the most damaging human interventions in terms of threats to survival of species including the tiger.

The ranger's comment is: "This is how far the ‘development’ has taken our wildlife."

Screenshot. Apologies for the poor quality.

Here is another quote from the Red List:
"Other recent research also outlines how fragmentation and isolation can lead to inbreeding depression and atypical phenotypic variation in Tiger subpopulations (Khan et al. 2021, Sagar et al. 2021). "

This means impaired health and congenital defects can be present in isolate populations due to inbreeding which seriously impairs conservation. 


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