Tigers under high stress
1st Aug, 2019
A study conducted by the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has found that the Tigers in Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Sariska are under tremendous stress induced by tourism and this is probably affecting their reproduction.
Highlights of the study
- Results of the study were published in CCMB’s Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species.
- This study is based on the comparison between the samples of fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) of the same tigers from the same location during tourist and off-peak seasons, which is regarded as a marker of stress.
- The stress levels of tigers during the 8-9 month tourism period were very high. Although females are known to undergo more stress, study shows that males were also under tremendous stress.
- Study could also be distinctly correlated with the stress levels depending on the number of vehicles entering the tiger reserves.
- The report suggests that unsustainable wildlife tourism causes distinct physiological stress in tigers in protected areas. Recently introduced tigers in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, failed to reproduce effectively presumably due to high levels of stress caused by high anthropogenic disturbance.
- It recommends strict regulation of vehicular traffic, and reducing other anthropogenic disturbances.
What the study focussed on?
- The study examines the relationship between anthropogenic disturbances and physiological stress levels in tiger populations in protected areas.
- The research team collected a total of 341 fGCM, a stress marker among tigers, samples from Bandhavgarh and Kanha reserves during tourist and off-peak seasons, besides data on various anthropogenic disturbances, including tourism activities.
Current status of Tigers in India
- The count of big cats is increasing constantly. In 2006, there were 1,411 tigers, which increased to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014.
- Around 97 % of the world tiger population perished in the last 100 years and according to the latest statistics, only 3,890 tigers are left in the world, out of which 2,226 are in India.
- Major threats to the tiger include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and commercial poaching for fur and body parts, which have simultaneously reduced tiger populations in the wild.
- The country’s first Wildlife Crime Cell has been established by the forest department at Melghat Tiger Reserve to stop the poaching of tigers and other wild animals.
- Uttarakhand has recorded a massive jump in the tiger numbers with the Corbett Tiger Reserve becoming home to 45 more tigers since 2015 and the Rajaji Tiger Reserve having 18 more big cats than were recorded in the 2014 tiger census.
- Uttarakhand has the country’s second highest tiger population after Karnataka, according to the 2014 tiger census.
NATIONAL TIGER CONSERVATION AUTHORITY
- It is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
International or Global Tiger day
- It is observed on 29 July every year, which is dedicated to the worldwide awareness and support for tiger conservation.
- It was created when 13 countries came together in 2009 and pledged to double the world’s Tiger population by 2022 -- the next "Year of the Tiger" on the Asian lunar calendar.
- In 2010, the governments of 13 countries where wild tigers roam decided that the business-as-usual approach was not enough.
- They came together and committed to TX2 - the most ambitious conservation goal set for a single species – to double wild tigers by 2022, the next Chinese Year of the Tiger.
- Project Tiger was launched in 1973 in India that aims at conserving Tiger.