This project is fully funded by the BBC Wildlife Fund
In India, human settlements, agricultural fields and industrial development steadily fragments wildlife habitat. This is especially so for large fauna such as tigers and elephants and for habitat specialists like hornbills and lion-tailed macaques.
This WCS-India project buys privately owned land parcels that are inside protected areas and are adjacent to critical tiger habitats in the Western Ghats to mitigate habitat fragmentation, human impacts on wildlife and their habitat and to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. All relocation is voluntary and the villagers are helped with all aspects of their relocation and resettlement through their full participation in the process.
This kind of land purchase is reserved for smaller human enclosures, typically less than twenty households as the Indian Government does not usually have schemes for relocation of such small-scale settlements or individual households.
The area where this work is being carried out is a series of protected areas that straddle the forests of the Western Ghats mountains in Karnataka state. In this region evergreen forests are found along the ridge and the windward slopes of the mountains while moist and dry deciduous forests occur in the drier eastern slopes. This 22,000 square kilometre area has been identified as the Malenad-Mysore Tiger Landscape (MMTL) by the Wildlife Conservation Society and targeted for conservation action.