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Thread: A somewhat unusual and radical idea to save Tigers

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    Default A somewhat unusual and radical idea to save Tigers

    I guess everybody's running out of ideas....

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/AmazingAn...7529068&page=1
    Last edited by Kiran Khanzode; 09-05-2009 at 04:53 AM.

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    This has been debated long and hard enough and its been proven that farming tigers will not work. Not in a country like India. Here are the reasons why:

    1. Enforcement of laws is very poor in India- there will be no real regulation over farming.
    2. It is far cheaper to kill a wild tiger than to raise one in captivity.
    3. Skins/other products of farmed tigers look just the same as those of wild tigers- there is no way one can distinguish them for regulatory purposes.
    4. Poaching is just one of the reasons why the tiger is going extinct in India- the larger issue of tiger conservation is much more broad and encompasses threats like loss of prey base, habitat loss, loss of corridors, etc. which have perhaps aided more to tiger extinction than poaching.

    People haven't run out of ideas. We knew exactly how to save the tiger way back in 1972, when we conceived 'Project Tiger', and we have always known it since. The problem is that tiger conservation continues to remain low on the priority list of the nation as a whole and both popular support and government will have not yet been enough to enforce those ideas that were formed in 1972. The day that happens, we will save the tiger. I just hope they last until then!

    Regards,
    Aditya
    Last edited by Aditya Panda; 09-05-2009 at 10:12 AM.

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    Dear Kiran,

    The link is not available...but share my view on basis of Aditya's post....

    Why we are talking about only tigers. There are many other endangered animals & birds also and deserves much more attention than tigers...

    I hate 'Project Tiger' campaign today. There is no positive output of this conservation effort. Every one using it as a eco-tourism advertisement. I feel 'Project Tiger' is the root cause of the negligence of other wildlife and also created unexpected hype for the tiger and ultimately put pressure on the tiger & its jungles, by the way of massive crowd at these NP.

    'Tiger Farming' is a idea of abnormal people. I'll never support such cruel activity in any case...instead will support 'Tiger Breeding, relocation & reintroduction' program to increase the tiger population.

    Rahul
    Last edited by Rahul Parekh; 09-05-2009 at 01:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rahul Parekh View Post
    Why we are talking about only tigers. There are many other endangered animals & birds also and deserves much more attention than tigers...

    I hate 'Project Tiger' campaign today. There is no positive output of this conservation effort. Every one using it as a eco-tourism advertisement. I feel 'Project Tiger' is the route cause of the negligence of other wildlife and also created unexpected hype for the tiger and ultimately put pressure on the tiger & its jungles, by the way of massive crowd at these NP.
    The tiger is only symbolical. Protecting the top predator in any ecosystem is impossible without protecting the ecosystem first. Putting attention and money on the tiger is like hitting many targets with one bullet. Lets understand that its not tigers we seek to protect, we're talking about protecting tiger landscapes here- without protecting these landscapes, tigers cannot be protected. An amphibian, a bird or an endangered species of insect can be protected in isolation in an ecosystem that might have lost its mega herbivores and carnivores, but protecting mega herbivores and carnivores without saving those insects, birds and reptiles is impossible. So, most often, every living being in a Tiger Reserve is protected by default under the garb of tiger conservation.

    Project Tiger, in principle, is one of the world's best conservation projects ever. Its implementation, unfortunately, has been flawed in India. But it is wrong to assume that Project Tiger is only tiger centric- the survival of the barasingha, the gharial, dholes and leopards, clouded leopards, golden cats, wild buffaloes, gaur and umpteen other species, large and small, owe a lot of their protection and continuance to Project Tiger.

    The tiger-tourism hype you're talking about is more often than not, limited to central India. There are about 30 Tiger Reserves in the country and only a handful of these are 'star' reserves. While there is uncontrolled tourism in these, there are others where the tiger is still a shy, solitary animal that avoids people. Places like Similipal, whose tourism zone is devoid of all life, still manages to save a viable tiger population in its core, which is closed to tourism. Very few people visiting Nagarhole or Corbett or Kaziranga complain of not seeing a tiger- they don't expect it in the first place. I'm not saying that these parks are perfect and that tourism is well managed there- far from it- but at least, unlike central India, tourism isn't tiger centric in these parks. You will never hear of tiger shows or mahouts or drivers harassing tigers for tips (bribes?) in these parks.

    What I am basically trying to say is that Project Tiger neither hypes up the tiger nor is it the 'root cause' of negligence to other wildlife. Far from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rahul Parekh View Post
    'Tiger Farming' is a idea of abnormal people. I'll never support such cruel activity in any case...instead will support 'Tiger Breeding, relocation & reintroduction' program to increase the tiger population.
    Tiger breeding, relocation and re-introduction are not practical options. The tiger is a cat and will breed like a cat given half a chance. We have enough free ranging wild tigers in India to not require any help or experimentation from captive breeding. All we need to do is give strict protection to habitat and wildlife and tigers will bounce back on there own.

    Cheers,
    Aditya

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    Dear Aditya,

    Please read my article http://rahulparekhwildlife.blogspot....n-species.html

    I do agree with your views regarding habitat conservation. I'm not saying i'm true every time....

    Every conservation programme looks good on paper, but we don't have devoted people to implement the programme successfully in the wild.

    I still believe 'Project Tiger' has represented Tiger as Star Species. We don't have 'Project Lion', 'Project Himalayan Brown Bear', 'Project Kashmir Stag', 'Project Snow Leopard', 'Project GIB', 'Project Caracal' etc. and many other species live in the different habitats where tigers are not living. How to save these species & its habitat??????????? Any answer....from anyone!

    It's really good news that in some area Tigers are away from the people and living in the true wilderness.

    This debate will never ends. Everyone talking about tigers...it's better I shut my mouth.

    Let's hope for the better future....for living world. Thanks for your happy words.

    Rahul
    Last edited by Rahul Parekh; 09-05-2009 at 02:43 PM.

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    Kiran,

    This muddle headed idea has originated from China and they have influenced lot of people to write about it. An Indian gentleman too was peddling this idea sometime back and had written articles in Economist and in the Indian media.

    We had discussed that earlier. Please check this link for detailed views:
    http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42

    This idea is neither practical nor ethical. If it would have been practical, then they would have saved the South China Tiger or Panthera tigris amoyensis. And if it would have been ethical to have tiger farms, then why not human farms? There is a huge demand for human organs as well. If we recoil in horror at this idea, then there should be a similar feeling for this tiger farm concept as well.

    I am in agreement with Aditya. Project tiger was the most successful conservation programme. It had flourished when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was the PM. She had personally taken interest in it and had written letters to all the Chief Ministers. Dr. Karan Singh, was given the charge and Project Tiger was under safe hands. Of late it has lost direction due to lack of political will. No other Prime Minister has taken such interest. Dr. Manmohan Singh was forced to constitute a Task Force, but unfortunately that was good in intent but poor in execution.

    Project Tiger used the name of the Tiger and its charisma to be successful, but it is not just limited to protecting the tiger. A tiger can't live without its habitat, without its prey and without the various birds, insects etc and the complex web of ecological relationships created by all of them. For eg. can you live without a small bird like a warbler or bee eater that preys on leaf eating insects? Without the birds, these insects will eat up all the leaves. Trees will start producing poisonous tannins that would make the leaves unpalatable for the herbivores (read prey of tiger). If herbivores can't live, then obviously the tiger can't. I hope this clarifies.

    For some more info on why birds are important:
    http://www.indiawilds.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118

    As far as other important species like Great Indian Bustard, hangul, Lion etc there are Sanctuaries and National Parks.

    As far as the lion example goes, they had come close to extinction as their number had come down to between 12 to 31. Though they have increased to 300 odd now, the small base of 12 to 31 doesn't lead to sufficient genetic variation. They are susceptible to being wiped out by a single disease attack. Unfortunately, muddle headed politicians are now invoking "Gujrati pride" in not allowing a few lions to be relocated to MP for creating another viable population.

    It needs lot of effort. I hope we are man enough to stand up and raise our voice to save our tigers and lions and other species from extinction. Future generations won't forgive us if they don't find the tiger or other species roaming wild in our forests.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Farming tigers is bizarre and cruel as opposed to farming livestock. However, India should consider the option of allowing private game reserves in lands adjoining protected areas, more so because our protected tigers are being forced out of reserves where they are not given protection.

    Apana

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    I concur with the arguments put forth.

    I would like to put forth a thought though: If the nature is down to its last few wild tigers, would Kiran's idea be practical then...rather would Kiran's idea then be considered cruel and bizzare?

    I understand its a somewhat doomsday, perhaps lunatic presage; but it does raise a complex moral question on conservation.

    Let me elaborate.

    When a person has cancer or a tumor, he / she is operated, put on chemotherapy etc...these are very unnatural interventions to save the patient. Recently medical scientists have developed stem cell research, organ transplantation procedure etc. Again they are radical ways of intervening to the natural order to make things better.

    Coming back to the topic,for the lack of a better word, let me say that tiger farming is sad or as Apana aptly described bizzare.

    But if the tiger population in the wild comes to single digits, perhaps this draconian step would be inevitable. Lets face it, 10000 yrs ago, man domesticated the wild wolves, a direct result of which today Paris Hilton's best friend are the Pomerians, Chihuahua (with bling), poodles and other such "cutie pie" dogs. Who knows what could happen next.

    As usual, the moot question is:
    What do you want to save? The tiger in the wild or the tiger as a species.

    My answer is as good as your answer.
    Last edited by Ranbir Mahapatra; 11-05-2009 at 08:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranbir Mahapatra View Post
    I concur with the arguments put forth.

    I would like to put forth a thought though: If the nature is down to its last few wild tigers, would Kiran's idea be practical then...rather would Kiran's idea then be considered cruel and bizzare?

    I understand its a somewhat doomsday, perhaps lunatic presage; but it does raise a complex moral question on conservation.

    Let me elaborate.

    When a person has cancer or a tumor, he / she is operated, put on chemotherapy etc...these are very unnatural interventions to save the patient. Recently medical scientists have developed stem cell research, organ transplantation procedure etc. Again they are radical ways of intervening to the natural order to make things better.

    Coming back to the topic,for the lack of a better word, let me say that tiger farming is sad or as Apana aptly described bizzare.

    But if the tiger population in the wild comes to single digits, perhaps this draconian step would be inevitable. Lets face it, 10000 yrs ago, man domesticated the wild wolves, a direct result of which today Paris Hilton's best friend are the Pomerians, Chihuahua (with bling), poodles and other such "cutie pie" dogs. Who knows what could happen next.

    As usual, the moot question is:
    What do you want to save? The tiger in the wild or the tiger as a species.

    My answer is as good as your answer.
    I think there is no doubt about this- we need to save the tiger in the wild, not just as a species.... we wont be running out of zoo tigers for a very very long time. The US already has more captive tigers than all of India's forests contain wild ones.

    We are saving the tiger in the wild because it serves an irreplaceable ecological purpose and is part of the very foundation of India's life support system. The tiger still exists in viable numbers in the wild and there is no necessity of intervening with captive breeding programmes now. Single digits are a hypothetical situation and (I hope) we will never reach there.

    Tiger farming is not opposed just for the cruelty factor involved in it. Even when we think beyond sentiments, such a move is doomed to fail. For, as I have said in an earlier post, it is far cheaper to kill a wild tiger than to breed and raise a captive one. On top of that, regulation and implementation of laws in a country like India is almost absent in such situations. Thirdly, there is no way by which one can tell apart the skin, claws or bones of a wild tiger from that of a captive bred one.

    We have enough wild tigers. All we need to do is simply give them, their prey base and their habitats enough protection, the tigers themselves will take care of the rest.

    Creating private game reserves a la Africa (for tourism, not 'hunting') on the fringes of existing protected areas is an idea worth considering. These will help in building good buffers to take in spillover populations and will vastly help in increasing the amount of wildlife habitat in India. But our land ownership laws need amendment to make this possible.

    Regards,
    Aditya
    Last edited by Aditya Panda; 12-05-2009 at 11:01 AM.

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    What will happen if the Private Reserves' owner be like the one, who had mowed down the tiger cub in brutal & hopeless manner? in other words pure money minded people. There will be also a good chances of illegal activities in Private Reserves too. Big money will involve in these area, so every one will think about the Profit first and Wildlife later. So Tourism first and Conservation later. So Entertainment first and Sentiments later...

    Govt. is failed to control & manage the existing wildlife parks & conservation activities. How Govt. will control new private Reserves?

    Sometimes negative thoughts are important too...
    Last edited by Rahul Parekh; 12-05-2009 at 11:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rahul Parekh View Post
    What will happen if the Private Reserves' owner be like the one, who had mowed down the tiger cub in brutal & hopeless manner? in other words pure money minded people. There will be also a good chances of illegal activities in Private Reserves too. Big money will involve in these area, so every one will think about the Profit first and Wildlife later. So Tourism first and Conservation later. So Entertainment first and Sentiments later...

    Govt. is failed to control & manage the existing wildlife parks & conservation activities. How Govt. will control new private Reserves?

    Sometimes negative thoughts are important too...
    Yes, it is extremely important to consider the negative aspects of things. But consider this- Agreed that implementation of laws in India is weak, private game reserves even in the worst case, will still add to existing Protected Areas. Which goes to say that, these reserves will be wilderness areas in addition to existing PAs and even if something goes wrong in them, they'll still be outside PAs. Also, let us consider this- given a choice, what would we prefer on the fringes of our PAs? Villages, paddy fields and growing urbanisation/industrialisation that become chronic human-wildlife conflict zones, or privately owned wildlife habitats, which might suffer from mismanagement in odd cases, but still, overall, act as important wildlife corridors and buffers accepting the spillover from the original PA?

    Considering the volume of wildlife tourism in India, it is important to take the load away from shrinking PAs like Bandhavgarh and move wildlife tourism to private players whose profits will depend on how well their private reserves are managed. If private landowners on the fringes of PAs can develop the habitat in their land to match the quality of the PAs, wildlife will move in to their properties. This not only allows for new wildlife populations to begin, but also spares the original PA from a lot of tourist load.

    I think this topic is certainly worth debating upon.

    Regards,
    Aditya

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    I don't like the word game, as it points towards hunting. Apart from that word, I like the concept.

    The ever increasing human habitations are putting lot of pressure on our forests. Private players can buy up the land around the existing protected areas and create forest preserves. If these are properly maintained then the animals spilling over from the core and buffer areas can come here. For eg. if there is sufficient water and vegetation cover then the animals are likely to come to the preserves.

    Serious wildlife researchers, photographers etc can use these places to study animal behaviour. It would be a great relief being far from the madding crowd.

    These conservation areas would be subjected to the same wildlife laws. So I don't think that these areas would be used to hunt/ poach animals. Our wildlife laws are strong enough to stop this. I am sure there would be a few over jealous forest department officials who would keep a Hawk eye on these areas.

    I think the time for this idea has come.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    As in Africa, private reserves have realised that living animals fetch far more money than dead ones.

    Apana

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    The largest impediment to this scheme in India is the high human density and fragmented land holdings. It will be an extremely difficult task in buying the large tracts of land that is needed for a private reserve.

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