Study maps – In a first-of-its-kind project, radio telemetry has been deployed to identify corridors used by tigers in the Vidarbha landscape, tracking their actual movement — indicating that the animals are moving in a much wider swathe of area outside the protected areas than previously known.
Vidarbha has 331 tigers in a forest area of around 26,775 sq km, dissected by 84,202 km of roads, apart from irrigation canals and other projects. There have been growing instances of man-tiger conflict in the region.
The study maps project, carried out between 2017 and 2020 using radio signals, identified 37,067 sq km, in all, of tiger corridors, further categorised into five classes as per frequency of tiger use — namely very low (10,289 sq km), low (18,727 sq km), medium (5,689 sq km), high (1,418 sq km) and very high (942 sq km).
The investigators, belonging to the Maharashtra Forest Department and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), principally tracked dispersal of 15 sub-adult tigers, including seven females, to identify the corridors. Five of them, which included four females, were from outside the protected areas.