Wildlife Conservation Efforts

Inter-state Tiger Relocation Project


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NPs mentioned in the news

Mains level: Tiger relocation issues

Sundari — a tigress shifted as part of India’s first inter-state translocation project in 2018 from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha has returned home.

What is the news?

  • The five-year-old tigress Sundari spent 28 months in captivity in Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha.
  • The two states lingered on the process for her relocation despite the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) shelving off the much-vaunted inter-state tiger translocation drive.

What was the Tiger Relocation Project?

  • The tiger relocation project was initiated in 2018 wherein two big cats, a male (Mahavir) from Kanha Tiger Reserve and a female (Sundari) from Bandhavgarh from MP were relocated to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha.
  • The relocation was meant to serve two purposes
  1. to reduce the tiger population in areas with excess tigers to majorly reduce territorial disputes and
  2. to reintroduce tigers in areas where the population has considerably reduced due to various reasons

How were Mahavir and Sundari chosen for the project?

  • Both the big cats were selected for the translocation project as per the NTCA guidelines and in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India and the GoI.
  • Two key factors were considered for choosing the animal — first, a dispersing young animal which is to find a new and second, an adult transient which was yet to establish any territory.

What is the Satkosia Tiger Reserve and why was it chosen?

  • Encompassing an area of 963.87 sq km, the Satkosia Tiger Reserve spreads across four districts and has as its core area 523 sq km.
  • According to NTCA, Satkosia falls under reserves where “there is a potential for increasing tiger populations”.
  • Declared as a Tiger Reserve in 2007, Satkosia had a population of 12 tigers then. The numbers reduced to two in 2018.
  • The purpose of the relocation was to repopulate tigers in the reserve areas.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2020:

Q.With reference to India’s Desert National Park, which of the following statements is correct?

  1. It is spread over two districts.
  2. There is no human habitation inside the Park.
  3. It is one of the natural habitats of Great Indian Bustard.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

Unexpected outcomes of the project

The project ran into trouble within weeks of initiation.

  • The arrival of the tigers was followed by severe protests by villagers living on the fringes of the reserve and the matter eventually snowballing into a poll issue.
  • Forest department officials were attacked and their offices burnt down by irate villagers most of whom were tribals.
  • The villagers feared the big cats would endanger their livelihoods, lives and livestocks. They also alleged that they were not consulted or informed prior to the translocation.
  • The major reason which contributed to the failure of the project was the lack of confidence and trust-building between the forest department and the villagers.
  • Within months of the translocation, Mahavir was found dead and was killed in poaching.

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