Ranthambore tigers turning ‘more aggressive’ due to cramped space, humans: Report
The report submitted to the state forest department has recorded close to a dozen incidents of ‘tiger-human conflict’ in the last two year, in which four people lost their lives and several others were injured. The copy of the report is with HT.Updated: Feb 23, 2020 17:45 IST
As more tigers in Ranthambore fight for limited habitat space and there is higher biotic pressure due to tourism, a report by officers in the tiger reserve, has said that the felines there were “turning aggressive” and has suggested remedial measures including relocation of tigers.
The report submitted to the state forest department has recorded close to a dozen incidents of ‘tiger-human conflict’ in the last two year, in which four people lost their lives and several others were injured. The copy of the report is with HT.
“The tigers, a year ago, were not as aggressive as they are now,” the report said, blaming higher presence of humans in the habitat. “The tiger-human conflict and deadly attacks (by tigers) were negligible earlier but in the past one year tigers have become aggressive because of which incidents of loss of life and property are constantly happening.”
The report said from the factual analysis of the ground situation the tiger reserve administration reached the conclusion that relatively young tigers (aged between 2-3 years) have become more aggressive as they failed to establish their territory. Moreover, the reserve has 62 tigers --- 27 (male), 25 (female) and 10 cubs --- much more than the carrying capacity of the reserve.
“The aggression will rise after the 10 cubs start marking their territory,” a forest department official, who was not willing to be quoted, said, adding that there was an “immediate need” to relocate 10 tigers from the tiger reserve.
The report also said that the tigers in the past one year have attacked humans mostly in the tourism areas. “The young tigers were very aggressive in the tourism areas, especially when they saw vehicles coming towards them. These vehicles cause so much stress and violate their peaceful surroundings,” the officer quoted above said, recommending limiting the number of tourist vehicles, especially full day and half-day safaris.
Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan, Arindam Tomar said, “We have received the report and it is being examined.”
Retired Indian Forest Service officer, Sunayan Sharma, said tourism and over populations are two major reasons for the man-animal conflict.
“Tourism is increasing pressure on tigers. I am not against tourism but it should not be at the cost of the eco-system. The tiger should at least get its minimum space,” he said. Sharma said if the excess tigers are relocated, the population will not decrease, rather the breeding will increase, as there will be no stress on the big cats.
Senior scientist at the Wildlife Institute of India, YV Jhala, said the aggression was not because of tourism and linked it to human-animal conflict. “It’s (aggression) not about tourism but management. At the Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, there is a a procedure to create fear of humans such as by bursting cracker. We need to ensure that fear of human is there in animals,” he said.