Developing genetic database to understand metapopulation dynamics and connectivity of tigers and other large predators across tiger landscape of Maharashtra, India
Indian tigers have faced more than 90% decline in population size due to poaching, prey depletion, and human-induced habitat loss and fragmentation across the subcontinent. Their survival depends on conservation efforts focused on maintaining viable metapopulations with high tiger densities and potential connectivity. Maharashtra part of Central Indian Landscape is known for its rich diversity and is also inhabits leopard, dholes and sloth bear along with tiger. It is critical to understand the effect of fragmentation on the connectivity of these four species as their future survival depends on the active dispersal through the corridors. Non-invasive approaches are the only feasible ways to answer such questions for such endangered, elusive large carnivores living in large landscapes. This project was initiated with an aim to understand the patterns of genetic variation, population structure and local population dynamics which is of critical importance in evaluating the evolutionary potential and to prioritize conservation efforts.
Funding Agency: Maharashtra State Forest Department
Researcher: Shrushti Modi