And they are certainly in need of some! With numbers hovering around fourteen hundred, the lowest in history, the Bengal Tigers of India require urgent conservation efforts. That is why the recent move that involves the relocation program for villagers living in and around tiger reserves has been broadly welcomed by conservationists. It basically involves putting greater impetus in relocating the people from tiger territories by increasing their financial compensation for making the move. While previously the compensation was one hundred thousand Indian Rupees (US $ 2130) per family for voluntarily relocating from the jungles, it now stands at Rupees one million (US $ 21300) per adult. This will certainly enable many more people to move out of the way of predators, from areas where they and their livestock are often threatened by tigers, to places where they can start a new life and business with the capital available upfront.
It appears already that dozens of villages will be vacated in the next year or so, a number far greater than the cumulative from last three decades of tiger conservation in India. History has shown that whenever people move out of forests, the denizens of the jungle benefit. When some villages were moved out of Ranthambore National Park in the past, tigers started venturing out in daytime and began to be spotted frequently during daylight hours. The whole ecosystem benefited. The above move may therefore have far reaching benefits for conservation of not just tigers but all the fauna and flora of Indian forests in the long haul.