Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

What drives tiger dispersal


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.
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