In the last 100 years, the tiger has been driven close to extinction by the
loss of its forest habitat and poaching. In the second Saving Planet Earth
celebrity expedition, Fiona Bruce investigates the precarious state of the
Bengal tiger population and learns about an ambitious conservation project ?
Tigers Forever. The plan is to create large protected tracts of forest,
while helping local people to relocate away from these areas.
In a national park, Fiona has a close encounter with three wild tigers
fighting just 15ft away. "But then it dawns on me ? if I can get this close,
can a poacher? A single tiger skin can fetch $16,000, which is a huge return
for a single bullet," she comments.
She meets biologist Dr Ullas Karanth, whose research has shown that tigers
need huge areas of forest to thrive in, with a plentiful supply of prey. He
is identifying suitable parts of forest far enough away from farmed land,
with the aim of joining up these key areas with corridors of forest.
"The problem with farm land encroaching into the forest is that the deer
have no habitat ? which means that the tigers haven't got enough to eat. So
it's important that it's the right kind of environment and there's enough
prey for them to survive," explains Fiona.
In the last five years, 17 villages have been relocated away from the prime
sites, showing that people and tigers can successfully share the forest.
According to Ullas, the declining numbers are reversible. If the project
receives funding, it can increase tiger numbers by an amazing 50 per cent in
"Let's hope you can do it," adds Fiona. "The integration of tigers and
people means that tigers can truly be forever."
A ú10 donation to the BBC Wildlife Fund could help the Tigers Forever
Project support a resettled family for a week.
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