Tigers don't have a reputation for being accommodating, but a new study indicates that the feared and revered carnivores in and around a world-renowned park in Nepal are taking the night shift to better coexist with their human neighbors.
The revelation that tigers and people are sharing exactly the same space such as the same roads and trails of Chitwan National Park flies in the face of long-held convictions in conservation circles. It also underscores how successful conservation efforts need sciences that takes into account both nature and humans.
"As our planet becomes more crowded, we need to find creative solutions that consider both human and natural systems," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, who with PhD student Neil Carter and three Nepalese scholars wrote a paper published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). "Sustainability can be achieved if we have a good understanding of the complicated connections between both worlds. We've found something very interesting is happening in Nepal that holds promise for both humans and nature to thrive."
Liu is the director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) at Michigan State University, where Carter studies.
Conventional conservation wisdom is that tigers need lots of people-free space, which often leads to people being relocated or their access to resources compromised to make way for tigers.
Carter spent two seasons setting motion-detecting camera traps for tigers, their prey and people who walk the roads and trails of Chitwan, both in and around the park. Chitwan, nestled in a valley of the Himalayas, is home to about 121 tigers. People live on the park's borders, but rely on the forests for ecosystem services such as wood and grasses. They venture in on dirt roads and narrow footpaths to be 'snared' on Carter's digital memory cards. The roads also are used by military patrols to thwart would-be poach
|Contact: Sue Nichols|
Michigan State University