The translocation fad
There seems to be a new solution to tiger conservation problems in India – just reintroduce an animal from another reserve.
Following the translocation of three tigers in the Sariska Tiger Reserve, the Madhya Pradesh authorities tranquillised a tigress in the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve on March 3, 2009 and transported her by road to Panna. However, this was done without involving the National Tiger Conservation Authority or tiger experts who have worked for years in Panna.
A second tigress was taken from the Kanha Tiger Reserve. Both were taken from core areas and both were territorial tigresses, which goes against the guidelines stipulated for such translocations. More importantly, we have no answer to the question: “Where have Panna’s 40 wild tigers gone?” And where is the lone male tiger that was last sighted in December 2008?
Conservationists suggest that an unbiased enquiry must be conducted and the officials responsible must be punished for the state in which Panna finds itself. If this is not done, more local extinctions will take place. Translocation is a vital conservation tool that must be implemented according to very strict protocols in both “borrow sites” and “release sites.” Ad hoc decisions and a lack of accountability – as exemplified in the case of Panna – can end up pushing the tiger even closer to the precipice.