Unless it’s one-on-one between a weaponless human and a major predator, the majority of crosses between wild animals and humans don’t tend to end in favor of the animal. However, one community in India is proving this need not be the case.
All 350 residents of Umri, an Indian village located in an important wildlife preserve, have packed up and relocated to a new, more environmentally friendly location in an attempt to give a little more space to the rapidly decreasing tiger population.
As you may remember, more than 98% of the nation’s tiger population has declined over the past century. Some protected zones have prevented the species from extinction, and parts of India have even deployed armed commandos to prevent poaching (see Armed Commandos Deployed To Protect Endangered Tigers In India).
However, there is one factor that may be the key to the long-term survival of tigers: allowing the animals to reclaim habitat that has been taken over by humans. This is the motive for the move of the Umri village. It’s the second village to completely relocate with the goal of preventing tiger extinction.
Other communities are likely to follow over the next several years, but it does come at a financial cost. Residents of the Umri village have been compensated with cash, land, and livestock worth up to 1 million rupees ($20,000), as an incentive to relocate to the nearest livable plots outside the reserve.
With a mere 1,700 tigers remaining the wilds of India, down from 100,000 at the turn of the last century, the financial cost is surely a pretty small price to pay. And with the human population only getting larger by the hour, more humans are likely going to have to sacrifice some potential space in order to prevent increased levels of animal extinction.