Friday, December 05, 2008


In an effort to save the endangered tiger, Nepal conservationists are working with village communities to restore tiger habitats along the border of India. Unfortunately, for the humans, the tigers are apparently "taking advantage" of the new food supply as an alarming number of human killings have been reported in the newly formed tiger habitats.

According to the article, " The Dark Side of Tiger Conservation" posted on ScienceNow, "Hunting and habitat destruction have reduced the world's wild tiger population from 100,000 a century ago to 5000 or so today." The Napalese government has recently made efforts to build tiger habitats in forests along tiger reserves in order to increase the tiger habitat. Local communities are working together to help manage these new habitats. This program, called the "buffer-zone management program", came to "Royal Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site along Nepal's southern border with India", when local communities pulled their livestock off lands surrounding the park and turned their grazing space into tiger habitat. This action came at a slight price, however, as the number of conflicts between humans and tigers increased. From 1979 to 2006 there were a reported 88 killings - with a nine-fold increase in killings per year once the new habitats (aka buffer zones) were established and populated with tigers.

This is good news for the tiger community as it obvious evidence for the success of these buffer zones in the conservation of tigers. A problem arises as the increase in attacks towards humans increases the aggression the villagers give to tigers ( they are more likely to kill or poison the tigers in defense or retaliation. A number of solutions have been addressed including educating the villages on how to go about daily activities and stay out of the tiger's way to fitting tigers with radio collars so, people will know where they are. Whatever the solution, this is an interesting comparison between behaviors of a species who is showing altruistic behavior towards another who has no capability of understanding it.

You may read the posted article here.

Maura Mulvey


At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's interesting and kind of scary. While it's sad that the conservation efforts come at a dangerous price, it is nice to hear the tiger population is rebounding. Do you think the Nepalese government will reach a point where they decide that the costs of rebuilding the tiger population is outweighed by the risk to human life?

Amy Kawazoe

At 10:37 PM, Blogger PWH said...

It is probably much more difficult to maintain a "habitat" of tigers than something at the zoo. I can only imagine how the statistics compare of humans who fell victim to tigers at the zoo and those 88 who died at the habitat. The fact that you used the term "villagers" is interesting. Did these villagers move to the settlement after creation of the habitat, or were they settled before? Are the villagers not educated about the ways to deal with tigers?

-Helen Thi

At 10:57 AM, Blogger PWH said...

Very interesting,
are there efforts to repopulate the lands with natural prey for the tigers, like smedium sized mammals? If the government set-up a program to coinside with this new buffer zone for habitat. Is this a viable idea?

-Joe Alonzo

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! I once saw a TV show where a Siberian tiger (I think) had food stolen by a human. The tiger was able to follow his scent and after weeks of stalking the man, violently killed him. I wonder if these tigers feel threatened by the conservation workers and maybe that is why there have been more attacks. Great job!

Ericka Adey

At 12:37 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Very interesting....I wonder if the villages have considered possibly building fences or wall around the tiger habitat to ensure their safety?

Posted by Joanne Philippeaux

At 12:39 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This article made me think that conservation for endanger animal can be good but it can be very dangerous to humans. I guess it works both ways. I hope the government can figure out the way human can be protected from tiger’s attacks. It is very interesting article.

So Jin Lee

At 3:59 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:59 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Nice picture. Conservation success stories are good ammunition to use for more progress elsewhere. The human price is not acceptable though. Do you think there is anything more the government can do to prevent attacks to humans?

Jimmy Sullivan

At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why specifically are the tigers attacking people. I was under the impression that most animals in the wild will not eat humans (because we taste bad). If this is the case are they just attacking people because of proximity? Is there some connection to food or resources? Is there any specific reason why they are attacking now rather than just increased numbers?

-Alex Jackson

At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is any effort being made to conserve the tigers' natural prey? It's great that the tigers seem to be making a comeback, but if their food source is scarce, it's not surprising that they're going after humans more. Are there any statistics about the tigers that attack humans? I remember from somewhere that a tiger that attacks a human is much more likely to be sick or starving than healthy.

Corinne Delisle

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a surprise that tigers are attacking humans. They seem to be an easy/plentiful food source.

-Duy Nguyen

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Interesting, I guess the humans either didn’t understand the dangers of living near a tiger habitat or they did not get enough information from the Royal Chitwan National Park about the measurements to take when living so close to humans. I was wondering if there is any electric fence that is separating the “buffer zone” from the villages. So that tigers or humans don’t go wondering around the other’s zone. As for solutions I believe the combination of both radio collar and education the villages should be taken, because the one the other would be useless.

Tenzing Y. Dundutsang

At 9:15 PM, Blogger PWH said...

As usual, it is hard to find a balance between wildlife and man. It is probably thanks to humans that the population had decreased and now that they are trying to rebound the population the tigers are more likely to encounter humans in that area. Tigers are large predators and it is probably not safe to live in the same habitat as these creatures. I’m sure the more the tiger population grows the more human fatalities there will be.

Carlos A. Varela

At 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some times I think that humans interfere with animals too much. I realize there is a need to conserve what is left of the population, but humans need to learn to fix things before it becomes outrageously out of control. We are supposed to be sophisticated intelligent animals and yet we try to conserve animal populations when they become endangered or try and control the change in the climate after there has already been irreversible damage. It is so sad that the population of tigers is so low and great that there is some thing being done, yet we need to start "managing" these kind of problems sooner.

Michele Copeland


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