Reducing tiger-human conflict through various nature-inclined methods

Tiger populations that survive and move into human-dominated areas pose a concern by preying primarily on livestock and, less frequently, on humans.

Reducing tiger-human conflict through various nature-inclined methods
Large landscapes with protected reserves, forests with varied uses, agricultural land, and urban areas make up the majority of the tiger distribution in our nation. (Photo source: Pixabay)

By Supriya Patil

A long time ago, mankind benefited from a vibrant ecosystem while tigers roamed free in their natural habitats. But this didn’t last for too long; development overtook environmental preservation, and the once-pleasant and harmonious world gave way to one plagued by environmental issues.

The problem of tiger-human conflict arose when urbanization drove wildlife out of their natural environment which prompted people to consider them as a nuisance or unnecessary beings. Tiger populations that survive and move into human-dominated areas pose a concern by preying primarily on livestock and, less frequently, on humans.

Large landscapes with protected reserves, forests with varied uses, agricultural land, and urban areas make up the majority of the tiger distribution in our nation. Tigers need around 40 km of area as their territory and tigresses travel miles to find safe and new areas for her cubs. They need large home range requirements for sustenance because of which they often come into conflict with people. The margins of protected areas and some forests or plantations with dual uses are where most tiger-human conflicts occur.

Man and tiger come in conflict often because of the killing of livestock by the latter. Domestic ungulates are easily preyed upon by tigers. This is due to the fact that hunting reduces the quantity of natural prey in multiple-use forests, increasing the pressure of predation on pasturelands, where a significant number of animals graze. Although rare, tigers also kill humans, which makes them targets of aggressive behavior. The only time killing takes place is when enraged mobs surround tigers that have entered human villages to feast on cattle. Tigers are afraid of humans and avoid encounters as a result.

Given the threat tigers cause to people’s lives and cattle, killing them is frequently seen as justifiable. Local populations frequently employ a variety of measures to get rid of tigers, including shooting, poisoning cattle kills, electrocution, snaring, and trapping. We seem to overlook the fact that the only reason humans are having more interactions with tigers and other animals is because we have encroached on their habitat.

Linear infrastructure and other anthropogenic activities frequently endanger wildlife corridors. If careful spatial planning is employed to avoid intruding on natural habitats and their connections, tiger and other wildlife populations won’t be endangered by contemporary development. It is necessary to establish no-go areas and enforce stringent penalties for infrastructure development in wildlife habitats.

Other barrier tactics can be developed to keep them away from populated areas, like planting a barrier of crops that repel wildlife known to cause property damage. For instance, barriers constructed of nylon, wire mesh, and wooden poles have been put in place to keep tigers out of the Sunderban settlements.

In order for tigers to stay within the boundaries of their natural habitat, we need afforestation drives more than anything else to restore destroyed natural habitats and densify buffer zones. We can only accomplish this if we recognise the significance of coexisting with the environment. Birds and animals play an equal role in maintaining the natural balance of the earth as do humans. Every living thing on our planet plays a specific role in the food chain and makes a unique contribution to the ecosystem. The interactions between different species, connected by food chains and webs, make up the ecosystem. The entire food chain can be upset by the extinction of only one animal species, with catastrophic consequences.
For instance, tigers must be protected because they lie at the top of the food chain and control the population of other herbivores, which is essential for preserving an ecosystem’s health.

We must not blame and kill our innocent wild creatures who are only invading human settlements because we invaded their homes; instead, let’s keep in mind that eliminating man-animal conflict is within our power. We may accomplish new perspectives of development and urbanization while yet residing in harmony with nature. Let’s discourage deforestation and motivate everyone around us to support afforestation programmes that can aid in habitat restoration.

(The author is Environmental expert of Grow-Trees.com. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)

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