Recently the fourth tiger census, 2018 has been released, according to this census there are 2967 tigers in India and the number of tigers in India is increasing continuously. The number of tigers was 1411 in the year 2006, 1706 in the year 2010 and 2226 in the year 2014. The increasing numbers of tigers indicate the success of the tiger project ie Project Tiger. In the 2010 St. Petersburg Declaration, India has successfully achieved the goal of doubling the number of tigers. However, according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority-NTCA, India can have a maximum of 3000 tigers according to the capacity of the tiger reserve.
St. Petersburg Declaration 2010
- 13 countries in which tigers are natural habitats agreed on the Global Tiger Recovery Program.
- The announcement aims to double the number of tigers globally by the year 2022.
- Tigers are found naturally in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam. All these countries are partners in the global tiger recovery program.
A growing population of tigers has emerged as a Man-Animal Conflict-MAC. Due to increasing population and shrinking natural wildlife habitats, incidents of conflict between humans and wildlife due to various reasons, such as food and habitat, are constantly increasing.
- MAC is gradually becoming the biggest threat to the lives of many species in different parts of the world, with it posing serious threats to the local population as well.
- According to data released by the Union Ministry of Environment, there have been more than 1600 cases of killing of tigers, elephants, etc. in the period 2013 to 2017.
What is the definition of human-wildlife conflict?
Linking the increasing number of such incidents of conflict between wildlife and humans to biodiversity, experts have been constantly warning that this transgressive behavior of humans is leading to increasing bio-imbalance on earth. Due to science and technological development, man has almost certainly been free from the fear and harm caused by the violence of wildlife. Wildlife itself tends towards its natural habitat, but during migration from one forest to another it is natural for wildlife to reach the populated areas. This is the root cause of conflict between humans and wildlife. Negative impacts on humans, wildlife, society, economic zones, cultural life, wildlife conservation or the environment fall into the category of human-wildlife conflict due to any kind of interaction between humans and wildlife.
Reasons for increased human-wildlife conflict
Habitat loss: Only 5 percent of the total geographical area of India exists as a protected area. This area is not adequate in terms of wildlife habitat.
- Approximately 60-100 sq km for wildlife like tiger. Requires field. But some tiger reserves such as the Bor Tiger Reserve located in Maharashtra only have some area of about 140 sq km. is.
- On one hand, the size of protected areas is small, on the other hand there is not enough habitat for wildlife in the reserve. Apart from this, there is not enough environment available for big wildlife like tiger, elephant, bear, etc. to flourish.
- Due to the above situation, they are forced to come close to open houses or human settlements for the needs of wildlife food etc. This situation gives rise to human-wildlife conflict (MAC).
Increase in development works: Presently, the government has given relaxation in various rules and laws for increasing various developmental and infrastructural activities, this will allow the expansion of highway and rail network to be closer to protected areas. This has predicted a further increase in human-wildlife conflict. Earlier, a large number of wildlife have already been hunted due to commercial gains and trophy hunting (hunting for entertainment).
- Apart from highways, railways, irrigation projects being constructed around Tiger Reserve, there are some other major problems related to natural habitats. For example, 100 sq km of Panna Tiger Reserve due to the Ken-Betwa River Link project. The area is in submerged condition.
- It is also worth noting that it is estimated by wildlife experts that about 29 percent of tigers in India are outside protected areas.
Mentioned in Forest Status Report-2017
- The increase in the forest area of the country is undoubtedly a positive sign, but at the same time the increase in conflict between wildlife, especially protected predatory creatures like leopards, guldars and tigers and humans has become a cause for concern.
- According to statistics from the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, there has been an increase in the total forest area of the country by about one percent as well as the number of tigers and elephants living in the face of conflict with humans.
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee report on the ministry also raised concerns over the number of people who died in attacks by violent animals such as elephants, tigers and leopards due to the increase in human and wildlife conflicts.
- In parallel to the expansion of the forested area and increase in the number of wildlife, the statistics of the Ministry show that the number of dead in violent animal attacks has also increased.
Statutory provisions for conservation of wildlife in India
- Two new Articles 48- by the 42nd Amendment (1976) Act in the Constitution of India for the protection of wildlife. The topic related to wildlife was added to the concurrent list by adding 51 more.
- In the year 1972, the Wildlife Protection Act was passed. It is a comprehensive central law, which provides for the protection of extinct wildlife and other endangered animals. The National Wildlife Scheme was started in 1983 to improve the contemplative condition of wildlife and to conserve wildlife.
What should be done
- Environmental experts believe that if the work of wildlife conservation is limited only to protected areas such as national wildlife parks, tiger reserves, etc. then many species will stand on the verge of extinction. For example, the Great India Bustard is included in List-1 of Wildlife Conservation Act (harm to wildlife included in this list is banned all over India) and a special sanctuary has also been established for this bird, yet this species is not extinct. Is on the verge
- Along with safe areas for wildlife, emphasis should also be laid on the creation of such protected areas which are based on public participation.
- Efforts can be made to reduce the damage with the help of Integrated Early Warning System to prevent human-wildlife conflict. For this, measures can be taken to plant fences in the fields and better management for the safety of animals related to pets and agriculture.
- One should stop hunting of wildlife (deer, pig etc.) which are food of tiger and other big animals, so that there is no shortage of food for such animals?
- Efforts should be made for proper wildlife management by studying the behavior of animals so that appropriate decisions can be taken at the time of emergency and prevent loss from human-wildlife conflict.
- There should be a provision of crop insurance for the loss of crops from wildlife, this will reduce the feeling of revenge towards wildlife in local farmers, which can prevent the loss of wildlife.
- Handy corridors have been built in India, along the same lines corridors should be constructed for tiger corridors and other large wildlife, as well as emphasis should be laid on eco-bridges etc. Funds can be obtained from corporate social responsibility for these works.
Animals like tigers play a major role in the health and diversity of ecosystems, as well as tiger is the national animal of India. In this context, the Government of India started Project Tiger in the year 1973. Since 1973, there has been a considerable increase in the number of tigers and at the present time tigers have reached close to their ecological potential in India. An increasing number of tigers in India has emerged as a human-wildlife conflict. An increase in the number of organisms is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. Therefore, to reduce such conflicts, India should focus on tasks like increasing the habitat area of animals and building buffer areas etc. It is also worth noting that the population affected by this predominantly exists at the margins of society. Such conflicts also cause economic harm to the local community, it also needs attention.
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