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Paper Details

Saving the big cats from extinction a systems approach to study Indias environmental initiatives to protect the Bengal tigers

Asish Oommen Mathew, Vasanth Kamath, Lewlyn L. R. Rodrigues

Journal Title:International Journal of Renewable Energy and Environmental Engineering

Tigers (Panthera tigris), the biggest cat species in this world, are facing an all time challenge of survival and existence on planet Earth. The International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has rated the conservation status of Tigers as Endangered. There were nine sub-species of tigers known to exist, out of which three of them have walked into extinction in the 20th century. Since then, the warning bells have been going on for the remaining tiger population existing across the globe, which was estimated to be just below 4000 by the beginning of the new millennium. Out of this more than 50% belongs to the sub-species The Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) which lives across the Asian countries India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The population of Bengal tigers in India alone is approximately 1700 as per the national tiger census held in the year 2010. India in co-operation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has started various environmental projects in the last few decades, to save their national animal from extinction. This research aims at analyzing the various factors affecting the survival of Tigers in India - the most important being environmental habitat destruction, environmental habitat fragmentation & poaching, and also the measures taken by the Government of India to protect its tigers. A system dynamics (SD) cause and effect model is developed, incorporating the diverse factors identified, to study the various reinforcing and balancing forces of the system. The research methodology employed for this research will be in line with the SD modelling process as proposed by Sterman (2000) which constitutes a five stage process viz. Problem articulation, Dynamic hypothesis development, Formulation, Testing and Policy formulation & evaluation. The outcome of this research enables to describe the various interactions between the different factors of the system influencing the tiger population. A stock & flow SD model for simulation analysis is developed to forecast what would be the tiger population trend in India for the next few decades, on implementation of different types of conservation strategies.