Barely a week after the government published data showing that India has 3,167 tigers in the wild, up by 200 over the past four years, reports appeared of leopards in Uttarakhand and the African cheetah in Kuno National Park straying into inhabited areas. Neither incident has resulted in the usual havoc of attacks on livestock or humans yet, but these threats persist, requiring the animals to be tranquilised and brought back into the protected area or shot. This reality suggests that the justified pride in the successes of the 50-year-old Project Tiger, which saved the big cat from extinction, needs to be tempered by the threats of man-animal conflicts, which urgently demand a fresh look at conservation strategies and policies.
Much has been made of the fact that India, with its high population density, has managed to set up and maintain 54 tiger reserves with reasonable success. But the problem of rising big cat populations is exemplified by Oban, the African ch
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