Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on
Jul 18, 2009
The tiger has vanished from more half its former range within five short decades due to human land use patterns that have pillaged forested India. Connecting forest corridors -- vital for wildlife movement and the exchange of genes -- have fallen prey to agricultural fields, canals, mines, power projects and dams. Deforestation and a depleting prey base are the main the reasons behind the rapidly-declining tiger population in India. Tigers need food, shelter and the absence of human disturbance. It is not the lack of Protected Areas that is affecting tiger populations but rather the willingness of the government to denotify Protected Areas and dilute wildlife and forest laws. On top of this, State Forest Departments are under-funded and officers who do their jobs well are victimised by their political bosses, rather than being rewarded. If people, starting from the Prime Minister's Office downwards, actually understood that our tiger habitats are the sources of our water, that they sequester and store carbon and are repositories of plant and animal biodiversity without which human life itself would come to an end, perhaps, just perhaps tigers could still be saved.