Central India ( Vidarbha Region) Tiger Conservation Project

India is home for half of the world wild tiger population which is mostly concentrated in Central India (the region is also known as "Tiger Country",) where there are several vast prey-abundant forests conducive for the survival of the big cat.
However, the forests have been fragmented due to human activities, which has led to increased poaching of tiger and its prey species. The threat to tiger's habitat has become increasingly serious due to fragmentation of forests and human activity surrounding it.

The Central India Tiger Conservation Project (CITCP) focuses on "connecting" the fragmented forests within the Central India region in order to secure tiger's survival in the Vidharbhahabitat.
tiger in Nagzira

The areas around Kanha Tiger Reserve and Pench Tiger Reserve are considered to maintain the healthiest tiger population in India. There are many species of deer and gaur (a wild cattle) that are tiger's natural prey. The southern part of Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Navegaon National Park spreads out to Indrawati Tiger Reserve. If we can connect Kanha/Pench forests in the north and Navegaon/Indravati forests in the south (Which makes it 1.3 times as large as the total area of Japan). it will constitute a chain of forest that are abundant with tiger's natural prey allowing young tigers to move freely and breed continuously and will become the "largest tiger reserve in the world."

Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Navegaon National Park are located right on the border point between the north and south forest area. This Project aims at conserving the forests within and between these two protected areas, and connecting these two areas through "a corridor" to ensure free movement of tigers between the two protected area. It is most important that corridors must be natural forests where tigers have moved around for a long time. Corridors can be a series of separated forests, or somewhat long and thin, even winding through human-occupied lands. However, there should be ample prey with minimal human interference. To ensure this, the following measures should betaken:

・Enforcement of patrol to crackdown poaching
Efficient patrolling and crackdown efforts against poaching must be enforced within Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Navegaon National Park and the forests between them.

・Reduction of environmental stress to the forests
Environmental stress to forests should be reduced. Improvement of villagers' livelihood must be supported in order to decrease their excessive dependence on forests such as a large scale grazing of cattle and mass logging for firewood.

There should be a forest corridor connecting Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, Navegaon National Park and the adjoining forests so that tigers can move back and forth between the north and south forest areas. For this, the following activities are to be taken in securing the corridor and for the immediate prevention of poaching of tigers and their prey.

1. Training the forest rangers and supplying the patrol equipment
Poaching of tigers and their prey is a serious threat to tiger conservation. JTEF offers training workshops on effective patrolling for the forest rangers in Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary and Navegaon National Park. A patrol kit consisting of a backpack, a pair of binoculars, rain gear, etc is provided to each ranger.
Contents of the kit
Handing the kit
Handing the kit to the ranger

2. Survey on the tiger inhabiting situation
For scientific support for securing the corridor, detailed field surveys of tiger traces (footprints, droppings, etc.) and the availability of prey animals are conducted.

3. Micro-community project to secure the tiger habitat
Around the corridor, there are settlements where nearly 90,000 villagers live. They graze their livestock in the forests leading to decrease of undergrowth which are food for herbivores in the forest ( tiger's prey). Excessive logging for firewood also damages the health of the forest. Through the micro-community project, listening to the needs of villagers' also helps to improve their living without their excessive dependency upon the forest.
Interviewing the villagers

4. Prevention of any developments that might lead to serious damages to the tiger habitat
At present, the widening plan of national highways that runs through the forests in the Central India is under way. The widened road will increase traffic, and make it difficult for tigers and their prey animals to cross safely. The plan must be amended to minimize any adverse effects. Scientific survey data is provided to the government authority and file a lawsuit if necessary for some serious cases.

5. Emergency measures
JTEF will keep watch on any emergencies within the project area. The immediate measures will be taken as soon as any problem is identified.

For example, JTEF gave a new tractor in 2009 when the old one broke in the protected area. In Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, the temperature goes up as high as 45 degree Celcius during summer. There is a water-feed tank just in case tigers have little drinking water due to extraordinary low monsoon, and water is being brought from a river far away by the tractor.

Wildlife Trust of India