Program Description:

Phase One: “You can not save what you do not understand”

The Tiger Corridor Protection Program will concentrate on the area which covers Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (448 and Sanjay National Park (1938 and the vast forested quilt that lies between them. The first phase of this program will consist of an unprecedented study to develop an accurate and current understanding of the ecosystem that harbors the tiger population that we intend to preserve.

Data collection will be intensive for the following parameters – assessment of habitat conditions, prey base, poaching pressure, corridor continuity or potential to open or enhance corridors between isolated populations, evaluation of the presence and effect of human habitation and of existing or planned development projects. To study the effect of habitat disturbance and exploitation, different sites will be selected in disturbed areas against that of a relatively undisturbed area will be made. Information such as habitat use by tigers, predation data (livestock and natural prey), vegetation mapping, bio-mass extraction, abundance of prey base, competition for fodder between livestock and wild ungulates will all be collected.

Where humans and tigers collide, we will also conduct a socio-economic survey of the people living in the study area and their effect on the environment, all with a view to prevent conflicts. Law enforcement intelligence will be gathered at all times and a network of informers will be developed with the assistance of local forest authorities, in order to assist the various government agencies with their forest management and protection activities.

The sanctuaries that will be covered by this program will include: Bandhavgarh and Sanjay National Parks, Panpatha Wildlife Sanctuary, Sanjay Dubri Wildlife Sanctuary and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary (now in Chattisgarh). The technical support partners for this study will be the State Forest Research Institute of Madhya Pradesh and the Wildlife Department of Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. Others will be recruited as the project progresses.

Various regional and local NGOs will also be involved in the study at various points of time. The monitoring of the study will be done by Tiger Trust and The Tiger Foundation, in close consultation with the Forest Department Madhya Pradesh.

It has been The Tiger Foundation’s experience in Indonesia that the simple presence of field teams conducting scientific studies and investigations in remote forest areas and near villages acts as a powerful deterrent to would-be eco-criminals, be they poachers, illegal loggers or cattle herders. The inevitable interaction of our highly visible field teams with villagers, local leaders and government authorities is expected to yield support for nature conservation and pressure on poachers and other criminals. Furthermore, we expect to develop support for our activities by focusing our public relations approach on the powerful spiritual symbolism of the tiger in the Hindu religion, and on the goodwill associated with the symbolism behind the slogans: India – The land of The Tiger, and Madhya Pradesh – the Tiger State.

Phase 1 is expected to last three years. The first year budget is estimated at USD$ 195,140. Subsequent sustaining budgets are estimated at approx-imately $150,000 per annum.

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