Pilibhit Tiger Reserve has won the inaugural TX2 Award, presented by CA|TS, Global Tiger Forum, IUCN, UNDP, The Lion’s Share and WWF, for its remarkable contribution to tiger conservation.
Nestled in northern India, Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is one of the narrowest tiger reserves in India. And amazingly, the surrounding areas support among the highest human population densities of all tiger conservation landscapes globally. Yet the tiger population of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve doubled over the last decade and stands at 65 as of 2018.
How did they increase the tigers in this new protected area?
The forest lies in a heavily populated landscape where grasslands and agricultural land blend with the edge of the forest. Pilibhit’s forests are occupied by people all year round, so it can be difficult to find a balance between wildlife and people. But with every challenge there is an opportunity.
There have been a number of key successes to Pilibhit doubling it’s tiger population. Like every animal, tigers need to eat. To increase the number of prey in the reserve for tigers, habitats such as forests and grasslands have been greatly improved. Another key success is the investment of technology to improve patrolling and monitoring by reserve managers. Better equipping them reduces the threat of poaching and ensures the corridor is a safe haven for tigers and other wildlife moving through it.
Even with these solutions there remains challenges. Because of its geography and the extensive cultivation of sugarcane, agricultural areas that surround Pilibhit act as an extension of natural habitats. This means tigers and other species often move beyond forest boundaries. It is an immense challenge, there is a real risk of close encounters between people and tigers which tragically results in both human fatalities and retaliatory killing of tigers. WWF-India is working closely with the government, other agencies and communities to better manage the impacts of conflict, making the landscape safer for both people and tigers.
“At a time when many countries are struggling to make conservation gains, India and Bhutan should be proud of these achievements. They serve as role models that prove sustained conservation works,” Stuart Chapman, Lead of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative.
The increase of tiger populations in Pilibhit demonstrates that committed efforts and investment in conservation can quickly yield results in areas where tigers are supported.
This award is supported by CA|TS, Global Tiger Forum, IUCN, UNDP, The Lion’s Share and WWF.