March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

REVIVAL OF TIGER POPULATION IN BUXA NATIONAL PARK

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TAG: GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT

THE CONTEXT: In a remarkable turn of events, the sighting of a tiger in West Bengal’s Buxa National Park, after a prolonged absence of 23 years, has sparked optimism among conservationists.

EXPLANATION:

  • Recent camera trap footage captured the tiger crossing a dry riverbed, marking its return.
  • Conservation experts attribute this comeback to various factors, including the augmentation of the tiger’s prey base, expansion of the grassland, and stringent measures to minimize human interference in the park’s core areas.
  • Buxa Tiger Reserve: Spanning 760 square kilometers in North Bengal’s Alipurduar district, Buxa Tiger Reserve is crucial for wildlife conservation, boasting corridor connectivity with Bhutan’s forests to the north, as well as linkages with Kochugaon forests, Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam, and Jaldapara National Park.

Conservation Initiatives and Habitat Improvement

  • Forest officials and conservationists have undertaken commendable efforts to enhance the habitat within Buxa.
  • Measures include reducing human interference, augmenting the grassland, and bolstering the prey base.
  • The introduction of spotted deer, with 200 newly introduced in the past year and a total of 900 in recent years, has substantially contributed to enriching the prey population.
  • Additionally, efforts to increase grassland cover by 70 hectares annually and the creation of watering holes have further facilitated a conducive environment for the tigers’ return.

Human Interference Control and Relocation

  • Efforts to curb infiltration and trespassing have contributed significantly to creating an environment conducive to wildlife, particularly tigers.
  • Plans are underway to relocate villages from the core area of the reserve, which aims to minimize human presence further and create a more favorable environment for the big cats.

Collaborative Conservation Projects

  • The “Tiger Augmentation and Monitoring Project,” a collaborative initiative by the state forest department, Wildlife Institute of India, and the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
  • It was introduced in 2018 and has played a pivotal role in reviving tiger populations in Buxa.
  • This project focused on various measures to bolster tiger populations and monitor their movements in the region.

Regional Impact and Future Prospects

  • Experts suggest that the increase in tiger populations in neighboring Assam’s Manas Tiger Reserve and Bhutan’s forests has contributed to tigers venturing into Buxa.
  • Connectivity between Bhutan and Buxa serves as a conduit for tigers seeking new habitats.
  • With decreased human disturbances due to controlled poaching activities and human interactions, the region is becoming more conducive for tigers to thrive.
  • There are also plans to introduce nine tigers from external sources, fostering hopes of further bolstering the tiger population in the region.

Conclusion: Positive Outlook for Conservation

  • The resurgence of tiger sightings in Buxa National Park marks a promising milestone in wildlife conservation efforts.
  • It underscores the success of habitat restoration initiatives, increased prey availability, and strict measures to limit human disturbances.
  • This development not only holds significance for Buxa but also contributes to the broader landscape of tiger conservation efforts in the region, fostering hope for the resurgence of tiger populations in areas where they were once scarce.

SOURCE: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/tiger-zinda-hai-buxa-reserve-bengal-count-9093718/

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