Camera traps outside Corbett Tiger Reserve reveal high tiger density
Vital wildlife corridor must be preserved
A few weeks after the first eyewitness photo documentation of a wild tiger crossing the Kosi River corridor in northern India's Terai Arc Landscape, WWF-India's field team working in the area led by Meraj Anwar, Senior Project Officer, has collected camera trap photo evidence of the corridor being used by at least 13 tigers, highlighting its importance for the area's big cats.
As part of the All India Tiger Estimation, in 2010 a WWF-India study in the Ramnagar Forest Division estimated a density of 15 tigers per 100 sq. km - the highest outside a tiger reserve anywhere in India, and probably the world. Building on these findings WWF-India initiated a study using camera traps to identify tigers residing along the periphery of Corbett Tiger Reserve adjoining Kosi River.
The Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) is spread from near River Yamuna in the west to River Bhagmati in Bihar in the east stretching along India's border with Nepal. Its most important source population for wild tigers is the Corbett block, which has a density of 17.8 tigers per 100 sq. km, the highest in India. Ramnagar Forest Division's estimated density of 15 tigers per 100 sq. km. is much higher than some of India's important tiger reserves.
In this latest study, a tigress with her two sub-adult cubs was caught on camera trap in Terai West Divison feeding on a domestic cow. In January 2012, the same tigress was photographed carrying an approximate one month old cub in her mouth (see top right), further south in the Kosi corridor. The villager whose cow the tigress and her cubs killed was compensated under the WWF-India funded Interim Relief Scheme (IRS). The fact that the tigress survived and it was photographed later is an example of the cattle compensation scheme working when implemented in earnest.
The area is not without threats as the level of human-animal conflict in TAL is increasing, primarily involving tiger, leopard and elephant. The area surrounding Corbett Tiger Reserve has one of the highest rates of cattle kills in the world. An average of 1000 cattle kills per year was documented by WWF-India's team in the 5 year period between Jan. 2006 and Dec. 2010.