Causes for the tiger’s decline: Scientists point towards hunting by the British and by Indian and Mughal princes, agriculture and urbanisation

Michael Parker, The Hindu, July 29, 2013

The tiger population has dropped precipitously from around 40,000 in 1850 to fewer than 2,000 today, and as their numbers and habitat have shrunk, so has their choice of mating partners. The findings will come as a blow to the Indian government, whose conservationists believe that several years of rising numbers suggest the species has been saved from extinction. […]

Hunting by the British and by Indian and Mughal princes alongside rapid loss of habitat from agriculture and urbanisation is to blame for the tiger’s decline. Adding to their woes was that the biggest animals were taken by game hunters as trophies – removing the DNA of evolutionary winners from the genepool. […]

“This won’t go away until wild spaces are managed coherently, with corridors to link up the habitats,“ he said. “When the Indian government measures its conversation success it needs to rely on more than just numbers.”

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Source: For the endangered tiger, genetics may finish what the Raj started – The Hindu
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