S1E116: India saves tiger from brink but must manage human-wildlife tensions

  • 5 Feb 2024

Human development is rapidly destroying the natural habitat for recovering wildlife populations such as tigers.

Synopsis: Every first and third Sunday of the month, The Straits Times analyses the beat of the changing environment, from biodiversity conservation to climate change.

The success of India’s conservation efforts conversely means that rising wildlife populations increasingly, have nowhere to go. Wild tigers are being spotted in many small towns and villages - from the mustard fields of Haryana near New Delhi, to the mountains of Bhimtal in Uttarakhand.

In many cases, accidental encounters have resulted in human casualties, and the big cats have had to be tranquilised and relocated to jungles or rescue centres out of harm’s way. Clashes of humans with elephants have also taken a weekly toll in some Indian states.

In this episode, we look at why a rethink is necessary to manage growing wildlife populations. ST's global contributor Nirmal Ghosh speaks with two field conservationists who are working the ground in and around wildlife habitats across India. 

They are the director of The Corbett Foundation Kedar Gore and the president of the Wildlife Conservation Trust Anish Andheria. Both experts give their first-hand account of the implications of the growing interface between people and wildlife, and debate new solutions for India. 

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:55 Are we reaching the limits of wildlife conservation, as shown in India?

7:33 Lessons learnt from human-wildlife negative interaction

14:33 On the new debate on limited hunting, like in a few places in Africa, to generate revenue and reduce conflict - how feasible is this in India's context? 

17:25 Why controlled hunting comes with many risks and why regulation is difficult to achieve in India

21:29 How aware are local communities of the larger threat of climate change and a warming planet?

24:55 On habitat restoration work that started in 2017 

Produced by: Nirmal Ghosh (nirmal@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis, Hadyu Rahim & Amirul Karim

Edited by: Amirul Karim

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