Dehra Dun : While the tiger population in the country is increasing their habitat is coming down, which is a cause of concern. Situation has reached a stage where for 74 per cent of the tiger population there is only 17 per cent of the forests available for their habitat, which includes territorial movement, thus confining them to smaller spaces.
According to research undertaken by senior scientist of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dr Y V Jhala by setting up trap cameras in seven tiger reserves of the country, the reduction in the space for the felines may be resulting in food problems for the carnivores, as with the dwindling forest areas the number of prey animal will also be going down considerably.
While interference of man is said to be the primary reason for this shortage of space, the felling of trees in forests and diversion of forests for various development projects that are coming up are also said to be the reasons for the decline in area for the tigers. It may be mentioned here that the threat to tigers and their ecosystems was the reason why a fully grown feline was not getting the required forest area for its movement.
The study was done through cameras that covered an area of over 89,160 kms and captured about 30,920 pictures of 1686 tigers in the tiger reserves. It was prominent to note that besides the tigers in the tiger reserves, there could be more felines in the bordering forests of the reserves and the good news for animal lovers was that the tiger population is increasing by about six per cent every year.
It was suggested that to ensure that the tiger population continues to flourish efforts should be made that there is complete stop on poaching as poachers mainly kill the felines to meet the requirements of some countries where their body parts are used for medicinal purposes and so far despite best of efforts poaching of tigers continues.
However, it was felt that besides poaching that the increasing population of tigers could also suffer for want of food and lack of adequate space in the forests as their forest cover was coming down in the habitat resulting in a decline in the prey animals. These problems also needed to be tackled on a war footing in the years to come.