Oct 5, 2015
India has lost nearly 41 per cent of its tiger habitat. As per the latest report of the International Union of Conservation Network (IUCN), India suffered the most range contraction among the tiger-range countries.
Tiger-range countries, where tigers still roam free, are Bhutan, China, Nepal, Thailand, Russia, to name a few.
The report pointed out that range decline is considered a strong indicator of population decline. It said that since an average of 55 per cent of Tiger Conservation Landscapes consist of non-tiger habitat, the decline in population and area of occupancy is greater than the estimated 41 per cent.
As per the report, the extent of occupied area in the country is at present estimated at less than 1,184,911 sq km in comparison to 1997. Biologists consider the primary cause behind this to be decline due to poaching and habitat loss, the report said.
The report warned that a similar reduction could be expected over the next three tiger generations (20-30 years) unless conservation efforts become more effective. The survey has also found a decrease in tiger range to the extent of 12.6 per cent in connecting habitat corridors from 2006-2010.
Though the report has not given a State-wise breakup of decline in tiger habitats, according to experts in the Environment Ministry, Madhya Pradesh, which at 3,000, has one of the highest populations of tigers, has seen the maximum decline in forest cover during the last two years.
The State, which has the largest forest cover in the country, has recorded a considerable decrease in its green area including very dense forest and moderately dense forest, said sources in the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF).
As per the records of MoEF and Forest Survey of India, 77,700 km (11.24 per cent) of the total 6, 90, 899 km of forest land in the country is in the State. The decrease in dense forest cover has been particularly reported from Sidhi, Mandla, Satna, Umaria, Jabalpur, Jhabua, East Nimar, Dewas, Chhindwara, Chhatarpur and Balaghat districts, which support the tiger population.
In contrast, Nepal is adding to its tiger habitat with the Government giving its approval for extension of Parsa Wildlife Reserve in the country. This will add a further 2,500 sq km of prime habitat for the big cats, which conservationists hope will increase the protected region’s tiger capacity to more than 40 adults.
The new addition, called Bara Forest, was previously operating under a medium level of protection. In India, on the other hand, the proposed Ken-Betwa river interlinking project that cuts through Panna Tiger Reserve has raised much concern about loss of tiger habitat.
As posted in Dailypioneer.com