We all remember the infamous only 1411 tigers left in India ad. Wildlife conservation looked bleak at that moment, but we’ve seen a 30 percent rise in tiger population over the last few years. For the first time in over 100 years, tiger populations are on a rise and indigenous people can take some of the credit.
It is a little known fact that half of the world’s tiger population is found in India. The urban idea of tigers is very skewed considering that we keep hearing about cases where tigers have gone on to maul humans. On the contrary, various tribes in India have found a solution to this and are now living peacefully alongside the tigers.
When talking to BBC, Survival International, a charity aiming to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, says “tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world”. The charity organisation has released data to support their claim where they’ve mentioned the statistics about tigers living in the BRT Wildlife Sanctuary in India’s Western Ghats between 2010 and 2014. The number of tigers in the area have doubled.
The tigers live in a forest along with an indigenous tribe, the Soliga people. This tribe believes in peaceful co-existence with the mighty creatures. The Soligas consider tigers to be their gods and there hasn’t been a single reported case of conflict between the tribe and a tiger.
It’s a shame how we’re unable to identify these tribes as a meaningful way of wildlife protection. The government often relocates these tribes from sanctuaries in the name of tiger conservation.