Reni Pani Newsletter - August 2019

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Surge in Tiger Numbers

As you all may know, on 29 July, 2019, on the occasion of Global Tiger Day, the Prime Minister of India announced the result of a census that took 2 years to complete. Believed to be the be the largest occupancy study for a carnivore anywhere in the world, the report suggested that India is home to almost 75% of wild tigers which is up 33% (vs 2014) to 2,967 tigers.

With 526 tigers, we are happy that Madhya Pradesh (M.P.) has regained its position as 'The Tiger State of India'. This surge in numbers in M.P. is mostly attributed to the conservation and habitat creation work done by the forest department in various Tiger Reserves in M.P. From a community involvement perspective, tourism has played a pivotal role in providing forest dwelling communities with an alternate livelihood option resulting in wild and alive tigers now being more valuable than dead ones. In M.P, 5 of 6 Tiger Reserves have a healthy and well managed tourism model and this state is definitely a leader not just in tiger tourism but also wildlife based eco-tourism.

In Satpura, the numbers have not yet been declared, but it is expected to rise, especially in the Southern Bori Sanctuary area, which is fast becoming the tiger hotspot of the Satpura Tiger Reserve.

India, with its good conservation practices has put a foot in the right direction in terms of protection in Tiger Reserves. But caution rather than exuberance would be better for the long-term success of our National Animal. India's economic growth and development is utilizing her resources like never before and often it is forests and tiger habitats that bear the brunt of the resource extraction. Responsible tourism in all our Tiger Reserves could very well be the answer for creating sustainable local economies that protect rather than extract from these eco-systems.

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