Sustaining the Lives of Tigers and People
With less than 4,000 wild tigers left in the wild, the future for this iconic species in its natural habitat is precarious indeed. Tiger range throughout India, Indochina, and Southeast Asia is now 40 percent smaller than it was in 1951, and today tigers occupy a mere 7 percent of their historical territory. And the threats are mounting.
On the Indian subcontinent, where the largest tiger population persists, only 11 percent of their original habitat remains in an increasingly fragmented and often degraded state. Tigers are a conservation dependent species, requiring large contiguous forests with access to prey and water and undisturbed core areas in which to breed.
The Satpuda forests of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra offer perhaps the best hope for India's remaining 2,229 wild tigers (2014 estimate). Constituting several Tiger Reserves connected by forest corridors, this is the largest viable block of tiger habitat in India. The Satpuda Landscape Tiger Partnership (SLTP), developed by the Born Free Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford, brings together a network of Indian conservationists working in seven Tiger Reserves across this very important tiger range – Bori-Satpuda, Kanha, Melghat, Pench MP, Pench Maharashtra, Navegaon-Nagzira and Tadoba-Andhari and habitat corridors linking them.
Through conservation bursaries funded by the Born Free Foundation these dedicated NGOs and individuals are implementing a variety of conservation activities to protect tiger habitats, mitigate tiger-human conflict, tackle wildlife crime, monitor tiger populations, raise awareness and improve the livelihoods of people living next to tigers.
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In October 2014 a film crew from the US television channel CNN visited India as part of its filming of The Wonder List, a series exploring some of the world’s most extraordinary countries, cultures, people and wildlife at the crossroads of change in the modern age.
One of the CNN Original Series episodes tackled India, and a section of this examined the tiger. Two Born Free Foundation projects were chosen to highlight the issues facing this magical animal, and the crew visited the Bannerghatta Tiger Rescue Facility in south India, where tigers receive lifetime care following conflict with humans, and Tadoba and Pench Tiger Reserves in central India, two protected areas where Born Free and partner organisations in its Satpuda Landscape Tiger Partnership work to reverse the tiger’s decline. Here, key partners on the ground and two Born Free staff members were interviewed. The series was aired in the US in 2015.
Talk on tiger conservation given by Kishor Rithe, one of our SLTP partners, at the Born Free office.