Tiger density and occupancy need more attention: Mr Dipankar Ghose
How do you think neighbouring countries can help in the protection of bio-diversity?
Dipankar Ghose: Nepal and Bhutan are extremely important from eastern Himalayan perspective. Bangladesh is really important in terms of mangroves and Sundarban's perspective. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has already started monitoring trans-boundary tigers and has done it for Bhutan and Nepal. In terms of the importance of neighbouring countries, it is to be seen whether the management regime of the connected habitats are same and at par with the management regime on the Indian side. Otherwise, the animals from Indian side will move on to other parts of the boundary and might get killed. So, it is important to India that the neighbouring areas serving as connected landscapes are also protected for posterity.
What are the highlights of the trans-boundary tiger survey between India and Nepal?
Dipankar Ghose: The report is about the common number of tigers in both the countries. For tigers, it’s not India or Nepal, but their habitat. The report shows that animals are moving back and forth and there is also the danger of fragmentation.
Such joint reports help in identifying the corridors which can be protected for animal’s safety. The report highlights the dangers of fragmenting of corridors due to construction of roads and other infrastructures. The very fact that the tigers are moving through the corridors is a very positive feedback from the report.
How can the trans-boundary tiger survey between India and Nepal help in better conservation efforts?
Dipankar Ghose: This kind of a survey is very important because if one looks at the population recruitment and dispersal of tigers, one can observe what is happening in terms of the trans-boundary movement of the animals. It looks at the corridors and increases protection in all these corridors so that the tigers are not only protected in the protected areas but also when they move out to the reserve forests where adequate protection is available.
According to 2011 report, Karnataka has surpassed Madhya Pradesh in terms of the tiger population. What should Madhya Pradesh do to regain its ‘No.1’ position?
Dipankar Ghose: One should not look at the population of the tigers, state wise, as usually they are observed landscape wise. In terms of Madhya Pradesh, the monitoring that WWF has done in the corridors, tangle movement in the Satpura Maikal corridor and the Kanha-Achanakmar corridor to some extent has been observed and WWF has been doing some monitoring in the Satpuda reserve as well.
So, Madhya Pradesh government is gearing up for protection of tigers not just in the protected areas but also in the reserve forests and the movement corridors. It is extremely important to maintain the connectivity between the source sites on which the government is working. WWF is also in touch with the senior officials of the forest department. If, the corridors and the connectivity is restored or secured then Madhya Pradesh will surely get better tiger numbers or at least better tiger movement.
How do you think these reports are going to contribute in the policy making process?
Dipankar Ghose: It is pertinent not to look at the numbers but look at the density and the occupancy. If one looks at the reports between 2005-6 and 2010, in those 4 years, the occupancy has reduced by more than 10% although the tiger numbers went up from 1411 to 1706.
So, it is very important to not lose more tiger occupied areas because presently there is only 4 % of protected area, but besides the protected area there are some movement corridor and it is very important that these corridors are well protected.
- OneWorld Foundation India