TRANSLOCATION IS THE LATEST BUZZWORD FOR THE MADHYA PRADESH FOREST DEPARTMENT
The Madhya Pradesh forest department shows the way in the translocation of wild animals such as nilgai, barasingha, gaurs
It is 42 degrees Celsius in the shade. This is the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, and wildlife expert Kartikeya Singh, at the behest of the local MLA, is gearing up for a trip to Chhatarpur. His mission: to select a site for the possible capture and relocation of the Nilgai. These animals, native to the area, are known to ravage the crops of local farmers—crops that are especially dear to the poverty-stricken communities of this region.
Since December, Singh—who runs Wildlife and Forestry Services, possibly India’s only private wildlife management consultancy—has helped the MP forest department capture and relocate 27 Nilgai from the farmed fields of Mandsaur district. The animals have been released into a nearby sanctuary, under the department’s alternative plan to deal with the human-animal conflict. It is a more humane option than the traditional method: to reduce the Nilgai population by killing a certain percentage of the animals, a practice known as culling. Many states,
such as Bihar, currently employ the latter method. Such relocation of Nilgai from farmed fields to protected forests is just one of many translocation operations undertaken by the MP forest department in the last few years. This approach to wildlife management—though common in countries like Africa—is novel, even out-of-the-box in this country. MP is the only state in the country to have attempted it on such a large scale, marking a shift from ‘passive’ wildlife management to a more ‘active’ mode. So far, hundreds of animals have been moved to new habitats.
Initial attempts at wildlife translocation in MP met with failure. The state’s first major attempt—to transport several Barasingha from Kanha to the Bandhavgarh national park, in 1982—turned out to be a disaster. Many of the deer died. Discouraged by the failure, the state temporarily abandoned this model of wildlife management.
Almost 27 years passed before the next attempt. In December 2008, an opportunity presented itself when Panna National Park was found to be bereft of tigers. In March the following year, the MP forest
LIVE FREE Translocated Barasingha being released in the Satpura National Park