Updated: Jul 7
~ by Trishna Dutta
Originally posted in Conservation India. It turns out that – when it comes to protecting India’s tigers – size matters, just not in the way most people might think. Large protected areas are clearly important for such a wide-ranging, territorial species. But in what may be a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, new research also shows that small protected areas often play a disproportionate role in ensuring the long-term survival of tigers in Central India.
Over the last several years, India has been working to improve tiger conservation by declaring as many protected Tiger Reserves as possible — with around five being declared in 2015 alone. A Tiger Reserve is a category of Protected Area that is especially designated for tiger conservation, and has administrative and funding mechanisms that are different from other categories of PAs. However, because landscapes outside the reserves are changing so drastically, just protecting isolated islands of habitat surrounded by an ocean of development will not be enough to protect the big cats into the future. Mainly because tigers don’t stay inside Tiger Reserve boundaries.
Our paper Connecting the Dots: Mapping Habitat Connectivity for Tigers in Central India, in Regional Environmental Change identifies areas in the landscape that are important to tiger movement. Read the full article in Conservation India.