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Jailed in Jungle: Why Wild Tigress Languishes in Enclosure, Needs to Be Probed

Two years ago, two wild tigers were relocated from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha under India’s maiden interstate -tiger translocation programme which failed miserably. The two big cats were shifted  to Satkosia tiger reserve in Odisha after its tiger population plummeted  from 11 in 2004 to 2 in 2014. One of the big cats  Mahavir sent from MP was reportedly  killed by poachers while Sundari, the tigress, accused of killing two persons,  landed behind barbed wires in a small  enclosure raising questions over the  wildlife management in the country. Many wildlife experts in  India feel that the Satkosia fiasco should be probed and the people responsible for the plight of the national animal  should be held accountable. Condemned to Captivity Before Sundari was condemned to captivity in  Ghorela enclosure in Mukki range of of Kanha  National park,  the tigress had  already  spent an agonizing period of  28 months in captivity in Satkosia, where it was sent  to find a new home and help populat

Tiger Crisis: Enough Talking, Lets Get To Work Now

Amidst the cacophony of save tiger campaigns- many of them starts and ends after brief  photo sessions on Global Tiger Day -it appears much spoken but little is done to  save the stripes. Rather, the laws are being simplified and the governments- both at the centre as well as in the states- look at the other way as the sanctity of green spaces is violated.

If people are so much concerned over saving the tiger - the top predator at the apex of the food chainand an umbrella species whose conservation indirectly protects other wildlife and in turn the whole forest and environment- we should better start practicing what we preach. This is actually necessary for our policy makers. And   in this case, the sooner is going to be better. Or else, we may have to regret later.

Shrinking Forests, Clogged Corridors

Despite all the education and advocacy in wildlife conservation, the habitat of the big cat continues to decline. Less than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild, down from 100,000 a hundred years ago. The forest corridors are clogged restricting the movement of the wildlife including the tiger   from one forest to other.   One of the oft repeated facts – very unfortunate for the big cat -  is their habitat or the jungles where they roam wild and free  plummeted by 95%, leaving  the populations fragmented and isolated in the remaining forests of Asia. The remaining range for wild tigers is at risk of reducing  further by nearly half due to development projects  at the cost of the jungles ,agriculture expansion ,urbanization and mining  to name a few. Rising human population is one of the biggest reasons displacing the predator from the wild. 

Value of Forest Wealth ignored

Landscapes where tigers live have common characteristics with globally important ecosystems, many of which are in Asia’s last wilderness. Rich in flora and fauna , these green spaces also carry a wealth of critically important goods and services that millions rely for day to day life.  There is no denying of the fact that a healthy tiger habitat mitigates the climate change. But many benefits- which have now been highlighted to hammer out the importance of the tiger again-   remained rather unknown in the past .They also include reducing the impact of natural disasters and protection of  water bodies.  In India alone, almost 600 rivers originate or are fed by its tiger reserves, providing water to the nation’s large population. Conservation works in Mundanthurai tiger reserve located in Southern Western Ghats saved the river Tamirabarani. Highlighting the conservation efforts, environmentalists said, in early 90s the 125-km-long perennial river had started drying up.  But the river  was recharged after a 1992 notification by the centre   according a status of  tiger reserve to Kalakkad-Mundanthurai after  the human interference stopped in the forest. The restrictions introduced in the park coupled with forest conservation started showing up and the river was revived.

Green Buffers Can Check Zoonotics

In the times of covid19, the environmentalists have also started correlating the significance of tiger reserves in checking the zoonotic  diseases. “Many zoonotic pandemics like Covid-19 could be checked , if not eliminated, through the green buffers,” said Dr Rajesh Gopal, Secretary general of Global Tiger Forum. The phenological events-Phenology  is the study of  periodic plant  and animal  life cycle  and phenological events can be used as an indicator of changing climates – incorporate “plethora of life forms  with complex  vector cycles, many of them are still  not know to the  humans”.  This assumes more importance in jungles to their sylvatic cycles and ecological successions. This cycle is the fraction of the pathogen population's lifespan spent cycling between wild animals and vectors. Humans are usually an incidental or dead-end host, infected by a vector. Human needs have disturbed such cycles at various stages, while adversely affecting the ability of such ecosystems to perform their function including reducing the recurrence of zoonotic disease pandemics.

Also Read : Mystery Shrouds Panna Tiger Deaths

Also Read : Problem Of Plenty: Gir Lions Turn Scavengers As Deadly Virus Stares

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