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In the forest of the night


QualityZoneNew management practices are credited with aiding the revival of the critically endangered Panna tiger in a North Indian nature reserve. In the last eight years, the Panna Tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India, has seen its vulnerable tiger population increase from two-three tigers to seven-eight tigers per 100 square kilometres.

The head of the tiger research project at Panna, Dr RS Chundawat, was responsible for pushing through changes in management practices and introduced unique monitoring methods that stimulated the increase in animals. Critical to the success of Dr Chundawat’s project was the radio-collaring of tigers, a practice which he says has allowed daily monitoring of the creatures’ whereabouts in the park, thus substantially increasing their protection from human induced mortalities.

A factor in the changing fortunes of the Panna tigers is the recent closure of illegal, state owned sandstone and diamond mines following sustained lobbying by international environmental groups. The mines were encroaching on the park’s boundaries and, along with illegal grazing and logging, were having a devastating effect on the tiger’s habitat.

It is hoped that the success at Panna can be replicated at other tiger reserves across India. The country, which is home to around 50 per cent of the world’s remaining tigers, loses, on average, one tiger a day to poaching and loss of habitat.


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