What has been feared by nature-lovers, especially those enchanted by tigers, has come true. A large influx of tourists into the tiger reserve forests across the country can cause stress to the big cats.
A study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)’s Laboratory for Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) revealed tourism-induced stress in tigers in two major tiger reserves in the country.
Published in Conservation Physiology, the study examined the relationship between anthropogenic disturbance (pollution due to human activity) and physiological stress levels among two tiger populations in central India in Bandhavgarh (BTR) and Kanha Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Madhya Pradesh.
Researchers assessed concentrations of fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) – a marker of stress in individual tigers. Chronically elevated glucocorticoid levels can negatively impact growth, reproductive success, immunity and cause muscular atrophy.