Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Famed Tiger Expert Calls for Changes in Sunderbans Tiger Conservation

Bengal tiger

Veteran tiger expert and conservationist Fateh Singh Rathore had recently criticized the conservation methods for helping save Sunderbans' wild tigers. According to Mr. Rathore, just trapping and relocating tigers faraway from humans will not help. The animals will always somehow try to come back to the same places if they happen to be deep within their own territories. Mr. Rathore even pointed out that research on Sunderbans tigers is also vital in their conservation. In his words, Sunderbans' tigers are different than the ones elsewhere in India and there has not been any gathering of crucial facts such as their territory size or hunting habits. Mr. Rathore also criticized the use of technology for tiger census. He stated that counting Sunderbans' tiger population is difficult, compared to Ranthambore National Park where he is based. The use of camera traps and radio collars were found to be unsuited in the mangrove forests, as they could easily be destroyed or come off.

In addition to criticizing the methods, Mr. Rathore also made a suggestion in providing alternative earning opportunities for villagers living on the fringes of the Sunderbans. They have been depending on the forests as part of their livelihood, which brought them into close contact with tigers and resulted in several deaths. The Sunderbans have been experiencing rise in water levels due to climate change, forcing the farmers to rely heavily on the forests. As part of safety, Mr. Rathore recommended construction of solid walls as a way to decrease further attacks from tigers.

I'm very proud to see what all flaws Mr. Rathore pointed out in the Sunderbans tiger conservation. Being a tiger expert for many years, he really has the knowledge of helping to save India's wild tigers. This includes using the right techniques, and what all things to consider when saving the tiger. It's also very interesting to learn how different the Sunderbans are compared to other Indian wild places. One possibility is by the difference in their tigers' behavior. They may have different sizes in their territories, they might have different hunting habits compared to tigers elsewhere in India. There could be lots of reasons that set Sunderbans' tigers apart from others. I sure hope that conservationists active in the Sunderbans tiger conservation will find Mr. Rathore's feedback useful before continuing with their job.

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