Two tiger sites are being awarded the 2021 TX2 Award for their success in increasing their tiger populations, and contributing to the TX2 goal. India’s Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in the Nilgiri biosphere landscape has increased its tiger population from 25 tigers in 2011 to over 80 in 2018, while Nepal’s Bardia National Park’s tiger population grew from 18 tigers in 2009 to approximately 90 in 2018. How did these protected areas exceed the goal to double wild tigers numbers?
Partnering with communities
Communities in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve have a strong cultural connection to wildlife, especially tigers, which are considered the guardian spirits of the forest and are worshipped along with other deities in temples. Tiger populations here couldn’t have increased with such success without this support. Community development initiatives and awareness campaigns carried out in villages inside and on the buffer zone of the Tiger Reserve have further strengthened this community support for conservation and have ensured tigers have a safe place to roam.
In Bardia National Park communities share the forests with tigers and rely on the forest resources for timber, medicine, and water. In Bardia’s community forests local communities are trained as citizen scientists to support the monitoring of tigers and their prey. Every community forest deploys a community forest watcher to safeguard their forests and species, whereas community based anti-poaching units aid law enforcement in reducing poaching and illegal activities.
Connecting Tiger Habitat
The Nilgiri biosphere landscape that Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is embedded in, is home to the largest tiger population in the world. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is an important link between the Nilgiris and Eastern Ghats Landscape. It is also connected to other well established tiger sites like Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Biligiriranga Hills Tiger Reserve. The adjoining areas of Erode Forest Division, Coimbatore Forest Division, and Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary are emerging as important tiger habitats and this connected network of habitat enables tigers to easily move in the search of food, a mate and new territory.
Tigers in Bardia National Park have benefited from the creation of the adjacent Banke National Park which provides more protected habitat for the growing tiger population in Bardia National Park to disperse into. Tigers from Bardia National Park have now repopulated the previously empty Banke National Park and the current population here stands at 21 individuals from a baseline of zero in 2010 - a remarkable achievement.
The success stories of Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve and Bardia National Park are thanks to governments and conservation partners including the crucial support of communities. We hope their success can inspire other protected areas to achieve tiger recovery gains as well.
These awards are supported by CA|TS, Fauna & Flora International, Global Tiger Forum, IUCN, Panthera, UNDP The Lion’s Share, WCS and WWF.