Mysore, Mar 30: Preserving the habitat and eliminating poachers is vital for tiger conservation as the striped beauties whose roar echoed through the jungles in the country are sliding into extinction and may soon meet the fate of ‘cheetah.’
The latest tiger census results indicated that there are only 1,411 tigers in the country, compared to last census conducted in 1997, which accounted for 3,508 tigers. The ‘status of tigers co-predators and prey in India,’ released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) Dehradun, could be imbibed in full measure and corrective measures incorported, sources in the forest department told UNI here.
Bandipur and Nagarahole National Parks stand out as examples of how a sustained conservation effort with equal measure of protection to minimise human interference in jungles, could help arrest the tigers’ slide into extinction. These forests located at a distance of 80 km from Mysore and spread over Mysore-Chamarjanagara-Kodagu districts has the highest density of tigers in India, and were the best bet for their long-term conservation, the sources added.
The latest report stated that Bandipur and Nagarahole, along with Mudumalai and Wynad in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively, formed the largest contiguous stretch of forests, giving hope for tiger conservation. It was not that the habitat was not disturbed. There were highways cutting across the national parks, wherein poachers were active.
The sources said man-animal conflict on the fringes of the national parks had intensified and the prolifiration of fire-resistnat species such as ‘lantana’ had a direct impact on the food available for herbivores.
The population of predator animals such as tigers, leopards and dholes or Indian wild dogs was dependent on the healthy population of herbivores, including spotted deer and Gaur or Indian bison. It was a complex balancing act in which the key issue was to manage the habitat by reducing human interference and extensive patrolling to eliminate the menace of poachers.
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