From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : Man-animal conflict and its resolution
- The terrain affects tiger dispersal differently in the Western Ghats and central India, two strongholds of wild tiger populations in the country, finds a new study.
Gene flow of big cats
- A team of researchers studied this across 30,000 sq km in the Western Ghats in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- They collected tiger faeces in forests including Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and used forensic samples to obtain genetic data of 115 individual tigers.
- Comparing the data with the team’s earlier study in central revealed an interesting pattern — the relationship between terrain and gene flow is “inverted” in both regions.
- While gene flow correlated with rough terrain in central India, it was linked with smooth forest terrain containing minimal human disturbance in the Ghats.
Why do tigers traverse?
- Tigers in India traverse long distances to find mates and new territories.
- But the movement depends on roughness of the terrain and human disturbance in the area.
- The central Indian landscape is highly fragmented with high densities of people, while the Western Ghats has lesser human disturbance and is home to the world’s largest contiguous tiger population.
- A study has revealed that roughness of terrain and human footprint drove tiger gene flow in central India: tigers moved across ridges and rough topography to avoid the presence of people.