~ by Archita Sharma (University of Delhi)
Nested in Satpura-Mikal range lies the Kanha-Pench forest landscape, spanning over an area of 10,000 square kilometers. It connects two well-known tiger reserves: Kanha and Pench. This landscape is a mosaic of dry deciduous forests, rippling grasslands, and tanned scrublands, with almost 400 villages. Although protected reserves play a crucial role in conserving wildlife, many species of wild carnivores also depend on being able to occupy human-dominated spaces. There is little understanding of human-carnivore interactions in such shared spaces.
A new study published in Royal Society Open Science revealed habitat preferences, livestock predation, and conservation requirements for five lesser-known carnivores in the Kanha-Pench forest landscape. The results offer a framework for assessing human-carnivore interactions in other regions as well.
The study focused on four wild canid species - Indian grey wolf, Dhole, Indian jackal, and Indian fox. Striped hyena, which is closely related to wild canids in terms of behavior and ecology, was also included in the assessment. The research team used a unique socio-ecological framework for assessing carnivore occupancy and livestock depredation patterns by combining field data gathered from 1600 kilometers of indirect sign survey (scats and tracks) with 700 interview surveys of local residents. 10,000 square kilometers of the landscape was divided into 128 cells of 52 square kilometers each, and this grid-network was then used for data collection. Data on the distribution of free-ranging dogs in the study area was also included in the assessment.
Photo credits as on photo and Centre for Wildlife Studies (https://cwsindia.org/)
Pardhis are a nomadic community that since the time of the Mughal emperors, have been hired to help in shikar (hunting), whether it was for sport for the British or for the royal kitchens of the ‘zameendars’ (landowners). However, due to combined efforts of the Forest Department and NGO’s, a large part of the population has given up hunting. Thus, ‘Walk with the Pardhis’, an initiative undertaken by Last Wilderness Foundation in association with Taj Safaris and Forest Department, Panna Tiger Reserve not only encourages this reformation, but also aims at providing an alternative source of livelihood for the community members while utilizing their already existing skill sets.
The crux of the venture is to go on an experiential walk in the wilderness with the people of the forest wherein, you will be privy to the age old knowledge of the Pardhi community members along with some spectacular stories from the forest. This initiative is also bound to help you reconnect with the wilderness, as well as help ‘read’ the forest as the Pardhis do, where the trained Pardhi guide will lead a nature trail for tourists, students or nature enthusiasts on a designated trail/ route in Panna.
To know more about this trail, or to go on a walk with the community members, please write to us at – email@example.com
The buffer zones, created around the protected areas, acts not only as the insulator and keep away the anthropogenic pressures of local communities from the core zone or ‘critical habitat’ but also provide the habitat to the spill over tigers and other wildlife species from core zones.
The wild animals disperse from their core breeding areas to buffer areas or to further in
corridor areas to establish their territory or to move to other protected areas. Therefore
buffer zones play important role in long-term conservation of animals. The information on dispersal routes, status of wildlife and their habitat in buffer zone is crucial to tailor the management strategies for buffer areas. Therefore a 2-year study in buffer zone of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve was initiated by The Corbett Foundation to study the dispersal routes of tigers and other wildlife species. Click here for the full report.
The findings of the study indicated that tigers and leopards not only using the buffer zone for dispersal but also establishing their territories in buffer zone. The study recorded 29 mammalian species out of 35 listed species in Bandhavgarh. Asiatic wildcat (Felis silvestris ornata) and smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) were recorded for the first time in Bandhavgarh during this study.
The Corbett Foundation (TCF) has been working in Bandhavgarh-Sanjay Dubri Corridor (BSDC), an important forested landscape that connects Bandhavgarh and Sanjay tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh. Despite being an important connecting corridor of these tiger reserves, awareness about tiger and overall biodiversity conservation in quite low among the villages of BSDC. Community dependence on the forest in BSDC for cattle grazing, firewood collection and collection of minor forest products is very high. There have also been cases of tiger deaths from BSDC in the past raising suspicions about poaching. All this has a direct link to a lack of awareness about the need to conserve the forests and wildlife among the local communities.
Unless the level awareness is raised, it is difficult to expect success in conservation and protection of flora-fauna. Therefore, TCF felt a pressing need to spread environmental awareness among the student community to make them realize the seriousness of the issues at hand.
To bridge this gap, TCF has published a 116-page pictorial booklet titled Hamare Van, Hamare Gaon providing an overall insight about the local biodiversity of BSDC, its ecological values and the need for its conservation. The language of this first-of-its-kind publication purposefully has been kept as hindi so that the contents of the publication and the important conservation message therein reaches to as many schools in BSDC and in Bandhavgarh and Sanjay-Dubri tiger reserves.
Milind Pariwakam works in the Central Indian Tiger Landscape (as a part of Wildlife Conservation Trust), with a focus on road ecology, large carnivore population estimation, policy aspects of tiger corridor conservation and various management functions. He is also a member of the IUCN’s Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCWG) and the World Commission on Protected Areas. (Profile by NCCI coordinator Amrita Neelakantan)
Why did Milind the youngster decide to dedicate his life to this way of living? When did “the moment” happen?
On 8th November, 2003 (which was a long weekend due to Gurunanak Jayanti), I was 29 years old and working for a bank. It was a Saturday and I was alone trekking up in the Kalsubai range and switched on my phone to look at the time and got multiple text messages pushing me for my sales targets that were on track! I decided that you live only once, that I liked nature more than anything else, need to switch career tracks and that day I made a decision to resign from the bank and enroll for higher education in wildlife.
One field day/moment that confirmed that you had taken the right path.
On 7th January, 2019 when I was walking with Dr. Gary Tabor and we found a tiger pugmark below one of the mitigation structures on NH7. I knew that the ten year campaign to get proper mitigation measures had achieved its preliminary objective.
Project Spotlight highlights our members' work in Central India.
|Network for Conserving Central India||