Fu­ture of tigers de­pends on how well forests are con­nected, fa­cil­i­tat­ing gene flow

Down to Earth - - REVIEW - ANANDA BAN­ER­JEE

IMAY, there was a tu­mult in the me­dia over a shift­ing of an N al­leged man-eat­ing tiger, Us­tad, from the Ran­tham­bore Na­tional Park and Tiger Re­serve to the Sa­j­jan­garh Bi­o­log­i­cal Park in Udaipur,Ra­jasthan.Con­ser­va­tion­ists and bi­ol­o­gists rue that such clam­our is miss­ing when for­est cor­ri­dors are lost to hu­man greed.For­est cor­ri­dors are link­ages be­tween two forests and fa­cil­i­tate species move­ment and gene flow.Data ac­quired through the Right to In­for­ma­tion Act in 2013 by En­vi­ron­ment Im­pact As­sess­ment Re­sources and Re­sponse Cen­tre,a non-profit,says that In­dia’s daily av­er­age for­est loss is 135 hectares— equiv­a­lent of at least 184 foot­ball fields.When land is re­quired for a new in­dus­try or a lin­ear project,it is usu­ally the forests that get the chop.

Ra­jesh Gopal in his new book Dy­nam­ics of Tiger Man­age­ment in Pri­or­ity Land­scapes says th­ese for­est cor­ri­dors are like um­bil­i­cal cords, with­out which bio­di­ver­sity will per­ish (see in­ter­view). The book is an im­por­tant mile­stone in wildlife con­ser­va­tion lit­er­a­ture. It pro­vides a de­tailed un­der­standin­gof­var­i­ousis­suesin­wildlife­m­an­age­ment and con­ser­va­tion from the sta­tus of tigers,co­preda­tors, prey and habi­tat to is­sues and chal­lenges in tiger con­ser­va­tion. The book sug­gests ways to eval­u­ate


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