Large carnivore and prey status in Phen Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh, India

The population of tiger (Panthera tigris) in India has undergone a sharp decline over the past few years. In order to provide them a safe path between two tiger reserves, it’s critical that potential habitat be identified, and that needs of tigers be incorporated in development plans of the region. As part of this planning process, it is important to first identify those areas where tigers could potentially survive in the wild, determine where sufficiently large blocks of habitat could retain populations of tigers, identify where connectivity between patches of habitat exists or could be created to link populations, and prioritize such areas on the basis of their importance for tiger recovery. In recent times conservation efforts have been targeted towards tigers due to their dwindling status. Though tiger is an apex species in the food web of most of the terrestrial ecosystem and conservation of tiger as umbrella species provide safe guard to the overall ecosystem, our understanding on cascading effect of human induced changes to populations of this carnivore species is negligible. Leopards which occur sympatrically with tigers, also faces threats from habitat loss, intense poaching for body parts and has resulted in decline in their population. Also lack of estimation of population size of these large carnivores makes it difficult for taking appropriate conservation actions.