Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tigers take the night shift to coexist with people

04.09.2012
Tigers don't have a reputation for being accommodating, but a new study indicates that the feared and revered carnivores in and around a world-renowned park in Nepal are taking the night shift to better coexist with their human neighbors.

The revelation that tigers and people are sharing exactly the same space – such as the same roads and trails – of Chitwan National Park flies in the face of long-held convictions in conservation circles. It also underscores how successful conservation efforts need sciences that takes into account both nature and humans.


A tiger camera trapped in Chitwan National Forest in Nepal.

Credit: Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University

"As our planet becomes more crowded, we need to find creative solutions that consider both human and natural systems," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, who with PhD student Neil Carter and three Nepalese scholars wrote a paper published in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). "Sustainability can be achieved if we have a good understanding of the complicated connections between both worlds. We've found something very interesting is happening in Nepal that holds promise for both humans and nature to thrive."

Liu is the director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) at Michigan State University, where Carter studies.

Conventional conservation wisdom is that tigers need lots of people-free space, which often leads to people being relocated or their access to resources compromised to make way for tigers.

Carter spent two seasons setting motion-detecting camera traps for tigers, their prey and people who walk the roads and trails of Chitwan, both in and around the park. Chitwan, nestled in a valley of the Himalayas, is home to about 121 tigers. People live on the park's borders, but rely on the forests for ecosystem services such as wood and grasses. They venture in on dirt roads and narrow footpaths to be 'snared' on Carter's digital memory cards. The roads also are used by military patrols to thwart would-be poachers.

Carter's analysis of the thousands of images show that people and tigers are walking the same paths, albeit at different times. Tigers typically move around at all times of the day and night, monitoring their territory, mating and hunting. But in the study area, Carter and his colleagues discovered that the tigers had become creatures of the night. The camera's infrared lights document a pronounced shift toward nocturnal activity. People in Nepal generally avoid the forests at night. Essentially, quitting time for people signals starting time for Chitwan's tigers. So far, it appears tiger population numbers are holding steady despite an increase in human population size.

"It's a very fundamental conflict over resources," Carter said. "Tigers need resources, people need the same resources. If we operate under the traditional wisdom that tigers only can survive with space dedicated only for them, there would always be conflict. If your priority is people, tigers lose out. If your priority is tigers, people lose out.

"Conditions for tigers in Chitwan are good," he continued. "Prey numbers are high, forests outside the park are regenerating, and poaching of tigers and their prey is relatively low. However, people of different stripes, including tourists and local residents, frequent the forests of Chitwan. Tigers need to use the same space as people if they are to have a viable long-term future. What we're learning in Chitwan is that tigers seem to be adapting to make it work."

Carter's cameras give a rare look at activity. Tigers globally may be out of sight, but not out of mind. Since the start of the 20th century, the world's population of wild tigers has dropped by 97 percent to approximately 3,000 individuals. The world's remaining tigers are being pushed into small spaces, and being able to share that space with humans is a critical survival skill.

"There appears to be a middle ground where you might actually be able to protect the species at high densities and give people access to forest goods they need to live," Carter said. "If that's the case, then this can happen in other places, and the future of tigers is much brighter than it would be otherwise."

In addition to Liu, who holds the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability, and Carter, the PNAS paper "Coexistence between wildlife and humans at fine spatial scales" was written by Binoj Shrestha of the Institute for Social and Environmental Research in Nepal, Jhamak Karki of Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Narendra Man Babu Pradhan of the World Wildlife Fund in Nepal.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund and MSU AgBioReseach. It was part of the Partnership for International Research and Education among MSU, the University of Michigan and seven other institutions in the United States, Nepal, and China.

Sue Nichols | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
24.07.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht Plenty of habitat for bears in Europe
24.07.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular switch detects metals in the environment

15.08.2018 | Materials Sciences

Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain

15.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>