A combination of strict government-led anti-poaching patrols, voluntary relocation of villages away from tiger habitats, and the vigilant local presence of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) partners watching over tigers, has led to the rebound of big-cat populations in three widely diverse areas in Asia.
In the Western Ghats region of Karnataka State, over 600 individuals have been identified from camera trap photos during the last decade. In Nagarahole and Bandipur National Parks, tigers have reached saturation levels, with surplus young tigers spilling out into forest-reserves and dispersing using secured forest corridors through a landscape that holds over a million human beings.
Indeed, the tigers’ return has led to situations such as recently reported in ANIMAL POST (“Tigress” 12/13/12) when villagers in Nidugumba saved an injured tiger that became caught in a barbed wire fence after straying onto a coffee plantation.
Beefed up enforcement and anti-poaching patrols in Thailand have resulted in a steady rise in the number of tigers in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary which stretches for hundreds of miles along the Myanmar border. The situation there was markedly improved last year with the capture of a notorious poaching ring. Since the imprisonment of the gang leaders, there have been no known tiger or elephant poaching incidents in the park. A record 50-plus tigers were counted in the region last year.
In Russia a new wildlife corridor was recently created linking the Sikhote-Alin tiger population in Russia, which contains the main population of Amur tigers, and some of the best tiger habitat in China’s Heilongjiang Province in the Wandashan Mountains. The new refuge area ensures that tigers have the capacity to move across the international border between the two countries.