Project Tiger seems to be dealing with welcome problems of plenty. For the first time in India, overpopulation of the species is forcing authorities to relocate Tigers to other forest reserves.
Chandrapur is facing the above problem and forcing foresters to think of alternative destination for Tadoba Tigers. The idea was active for some time and two tigers have been radio-collared to study their relocation. As per Mr Sanjay Thakre – the chief forest conservator all the big cats are reaching outside the tiger sanctuary. This was very obvious as the population of tigers have exploded in the areas of Chandrapur.
People close to the project have admitted that such move is happening for the first time in the country. Relocation is being looked into due to overpopulation of tigers.Tigers seem to be moving everywhere through corridors. From Yevatmal district to Pench in MP and few even farther to Andhra Pradesh – proving the case.
Tadoba Andhari reserve alone houses 100 tigers in Chandrapur. This place is surrounded by territorial forest which is pre requisite for healthy tiger population. There are almost 34 tigers in Brahmapuri which falls just outside the limit of tiger reserve.
In 2008, Rajasthan’s Ranthambhore had relocated few of its tigers to Sariska to keep up the dwindling number in Sariska. In 2009, Kanha and Bandhavgarh tiger reserves sent its tigers to Panna National Park. But both the cases were to keep up the tiger numbers to avoid extinction.Anuj Khare – wildlife warden of Pune backs up the move of relocation. He admits the Sariska was not a great story but tigers really thrived well in Panna. There is no other way to protect the species. Relocation only seems to be valid alternative.
Every effort is made to increase the numbers of Tigers. Tigers are territorial hence space is required to house them. If the density in particular area increases, it may lead to other problems. Anuj Khare also cites another reason for success of Panna story. He gives the credit to strong monitoring system, set management practices and round the clock surveillance of the relocated animal. There are around 23 tigers and 11 cubs / sub adults in the area.
With increased development activities especially in Forest areas the natural tiger corridors are getting destroyed at alarming pace. Hence more need of Human intervention for relocation. One of the reasons why Tigers in the country are now confined to few pockets. Once relocated to new land – the animals go in search of territories themselves and balance the population of the area.
Permission for the above relocation is pending and where would be their new home is yet to be decided. But strong indication is towards Sahyadri Tiger reserve. However, prey base needed to be studies there as non suitability of prey base would lead to starving. Moreover, Tadoba tiger reserve is drier than Sahyadri and pose extreme challenge of hilly area. Would history repeat itself like Sariska or Panna remains to be seen.