[Answered] Discuss the potential risks and challenges associated with wildlife translocation projects, drawing from the case study of the failed tiger translocation project in Odisha.

Introduction: What is a wildlife translocation project?

Body: What are the risks and challenges associated with the project?

Conclusion: Way forward.

India’s first inter-state translocation of tigers project involved translocating a female cub from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve (BTR) in Madhya Pradesh to Satkosia Tiger Reserve (STR) in Odisha. The Tiger Relocation Project 2018 aims to lessen territorial conflicts by reducing tiger numbers in overcrowded areas and reintroducing tigers in regions where their populations had dwindled.

What are the potential risks and challenges associated with wildlife translocation projects?

  • Lack of confidence and trust building: The major reason behind the failure of the project was a lack of confidence and trust-building between the forest department and the villagers. The local villagers were not taken into confidence before the tiger introduction, and they were concerned about the human-animal conflict.
  • Poor tiger monitoring: The translocation was done in haste as field staff and tiger reserve management were not prepared leading to poor monitoring of the big cats.
  • Poor implementation of NTCA guidelines: There was complete neglect of the guidelines issued by NTCA. The funds authorized by NTCA were diverted without authorization from Central Government for some other purposes. Various NTCA reports pointed out that pre-requisite conditions for re-introduction like prey augmentation, creation of inviolate space, eco-development, capacity building of staff, and enhancement of protection could not be achieved despite sufficient funds.
  • Translocation done in summer- monsoon season: The forest department overlooked the guidelines of not translocation the animal during peak summer and monsoon season as the cat faces extreme stress during this season. The growth of foliage during monsoon season also poses a monitoring challenge for forest officials as there is limited access to the forest.

Way forward:

  • Cooperation of Locals: Future projects should keep in mind the cooperation of locals is essential for the success of the project. The concerns regarding their lives, livelihoods, and livestock should be properly addressed by the government.
  • Conservation efforts: The use of the M-STRIPES app, supporting the translocation exercise with radio collars, and providing additional ground staff to carry out monitoring round-the-clock plays a key role in the conservation of cat species.
  • Inter-state cooperation: The translocation exercise shows that cooperation between the two states is essential for the smooth execution of the project and to keep the safety of the tiger in its habitat.


India celebrated the 50th anniversary of Project Tiger and the total number of tigers in India has seen a remarkable increase of 200, surging from 2,967 to 3,167 over the last four years. This commendable feat highlights the unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation in India and signifies the collective efforts of the government, conservationists, and local communities. This is a significant achievement as India now has 75% of the world’s tiger population.

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