Dr Ullas Karanth, director of the Centre for Wildlife Studies, has said that the Western Ghats are under tremendous pressure due to ill-planned infrastructure projects.
The projects are also posing a threat to the biodiversity of the region, Dr Karanth stressed while delivering a talk on ‘Conservation Science at Macro Ecological Scales’ at Marena Stadium at Attavar, Mangaluru, on Thursday.
The talk was organised by the Student Research Forum, MAHE, under the aegis of the Directorate of Research, MAHE, as a part of the Interdisciplinary Conference on Healthcare and Technical Research (ICHTR).
“Apart from the depletion of forest cover and commercial trade of wild animals, mini-hydel projects and mining activity in watershed areas are having a negative impact on the natural habitat of wild animals. There are around 300 hydel projects in the Malnad areas,” he explained.
“The biodiversity cannot be saved in zoos,” Dr Karanth stressed and added that, since ages, Hindu culture has been revering Nature. “Today, 90% of the forest resources are dedicated for human consumption,” Dr Karanth expressed disappointment.
The senior conservation scientist said that the conservation of tiger had been successful to a great extent.
“Tigers have a good mortality rate. But, according to the studies based on telemetry, tigers are found migrating to places that are hundreds of kilometres away from their natural habitat. Up to 20% of the tiger population is dying every year due to various cases. Given the current mortality rate, there should have been around 10,000 tigers instead of the 3,500 tigers in the country,” he explained.
‘Relocation not a solution’
Dr Karanth pointed out that relocation of man-eating tigers was not the solution.
“According to a study, a single tiger requires 500 preys. While re-establishing carnivores such as tigers in another forest, it should be ensured that there is a prey base in the relocated region. Man-eating tigers cannot be relocated to areas with dense human population. This will create a risk of tigers targeting more people,” he warned.
“So far, most of the relocation attempts have failed. Such failure stories create a wrong picture of wildlife conservation in the minds of people,” he pointed out.
Dr M Venkataraya Prabhu, dean of KMC, Mangaluru, presided over the valedictory. Bridge-man of India Dr Girish Bharadhwaj was also present.