WildTiger’s goal, each and every day, is to foster coexistence between humans and big cats.
The strategies we are developing and implementing are based around community conservation efforts. By engaging locals and increasing capacity it means the most impacted stakeholders are active in coexistence strategies.
Currently our models are being developed and implemented in the west Nepal/northern India region based around Bardia National Park, Banke National Park and Katarniaghat Wildlife Reserve is a highly affected area. WildTiger outreaches and consults in other areas on a case by case basis.
Below is a short summary of the challenges of human and big cat coexistence.
In a changing world humans and leopards now share space more than ever before. The leopard is found in around 70 countries and the tiger in 13 (subject to review) but have also disappeared from several more, their range is large but the space within that range is diminishing. While there are examples of passive coexistence there is overall a growing conflict resulting in often tragic consequences for both people are big cats. Below are some of the issues leading to coexistence challenges meaning an uncertain future for leopards and tigers.
Habitat encroachment – In the last 100 years the leopard has lost more than 75% of their range and only 17% of what is left is legally protected. Tigers have lost 95% of their range which although is over a smaller area than the leopard, it explains the rate of habitat encroachment of it’s range area.
Prey depletion and habitat deterioration – For a variety of reasons including climate change and human interference the leopards and tigers have been left with less suitable habitats than their needs require.
Lack of conservation emphasis – The leopard has fallen under the radar in most parts of its range. Being a secretive animal which is difficult to study and get accurate census figures as well as the until recent notion that the species was not under serious threat has meant that governments and the conservation community have not given the leopard the emphasis it needs.
Poaching – Big cat skins, bones, teeth and claws fetch high prices on illegal markets and leopard body parts use in traditional medicines also adds to demand.
Retaliation killing – where human injury/fatality and/or livestock loss have taken place and big cats, particularly leopards, are killed in retaliation.
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