If conservationists are to be believed, the tiger, India’s national animal, is the most endangered species today. In the last century, 95% of the world’s tiger population has been wiped out. In India, there are only 1,400 left. Of the 37 tiger reserves, 17 are in a precarious condition.
In spite of various efforts to save the big cat, the number of tigers has only gone down. One big reason for this is the severe encroachment of their habitat by humans. Today, in many national parks there is active human presence. Villagers resist relocation and poachers often find safe haven in these places. If the tiger is to be saved, humans have to be evicted. This may sound harsh, but there is no other way. “Joint forestry”, “people’s participation” and other fancy ideas will only finish off the animal.
To argue that villagers living in forest areas need to secure their livelihood there is to make a bad excuse. Man can always find another vocation, animals cannot. The sooner cash-for-relocation schemes are implemented, the better it will be for wildlife conservation.