A small number of tigers from the Tadoba – Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district are scheduled to be translocated to the Sahyadri tiger reserve.

About the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR):

  • The Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR), situated in the state of Maharashtra takes its name from Western Ghat’s Sahyadri Range.
  • Established in January 2010, the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) is situated in the northern region of the Western Ghats. It is the sole tiger reserve in the western part of Maharashtra.
  • It spans across Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, and Ratnagiri districts in western Maharashtra, including both Chandoli National Park and Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It also contains the reservoirs “Shivsagar” of the Koyana River and “Vasant Sagar” of the Warana River.
  • The Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) is one of only five tiger reserves in the country — Kaval in Telangana, Kamlang in Arunachal Pradesh, Dampa in Mizoram, and Satkosia in Odisha being the other four with zero tigers within the reserve.

Major reasons behind the translocation of Tigers to STR:

  • Due to poaching, a small prey base, and shifting habitat, the tiger population in the area has always been low. 
  • Even after the STR was notified, the number of tigers did not rise because breeding tigers did not colonize the reserve.
  • Immediate results are sought through tiger relocation to the STR, as the natural influx of tigers from Goa and Karnataka could take years due to the slow process of population growth and corridor strengthening.

History and Viability of Translocation Projects:

  • Successful reintroduction projects and translocation of tigers include the Sariska Tiger Reserve in 2008 and the Panna Tiger Reserve in 2009.
  • Some reintroduction initiatives, like the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha, the nation’s first interstate translocation project, have also failed.
  • Experts suggest that translocation programs have shown mixed results thus far. It should only be used as the last option after evaluating alternative options such as enhancing habitat quality, increasing prey populations and improving tiger corridors.

Importance of wildlife corridors:

  • Wildlife corridors are habitats and pathways connecting fragmented wildlife populations as a result of human settlements and infrastructure projects
  • They are crucial for long-term survival by preventing localized extinctions and facilitating gene flow for population diversity.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has mapped 32 significant tiger corridors across four main tiger landscapes in the country: the Shivalik Hills and Gangetic plains, Central India and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, and the North East Hills.

Importance of Sahyadri-Konkan corridor:

  • The sustainability of tiger populations in the northern Western Ghats relies on the Sahyadri-Konkan corridor.
  • The corridor links the Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka to the forests in Goa, offering tigers further access to Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary, reserves in Sindhudurg district, and Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR).
  • According to experts, the project’s goal can only be accomplished if the Sahyadri-Konkan wildlife corridor remains secure and undisturbed by human activities. 

A map depicting area under Sahyadri-Konkan corridor.

Way Forward:

  • ocus on enhancing the Sahyadri-Konkan corridor to facilitate tiger movement and genetic exchange.
  • Draw lessons from both successful and failed translocation projects for informed decision-making.
  • Ensure corridors are free from disturbances to support the dispersal of tigers from source population areas.
  • Design policies that prioritize corridor protection and tiger conservation at regional and national levels.

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