Indian Authorities Relocate Village to Protect Tigers

Posted February 16th, 2012 at 10:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Authorities in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan have relocated a village in the heart of a tiger sanctuary to protect the habitat of the big cat.

The move is aimed at reviving the tiger population in the Sariska reserve where conservationists, to their dismay, did not find a single tiger in 2005.

The last of the 82 families in Umri village left their homes during the past week. They received land or financial compensation of up to $19,000. Umri is one of more than 20 villages located inside or near the reserve that will be moved out.

Rajasthan's chief wildlife warden said the relocation was not an easy task, but the benefits to the big cat are immense. A census last year showed that the number of tigers in India has risen from 1,400 five years ago to 1,700.

India is home to nearly 50 percent of the world's tiger population, which has declined dramatically from about 100,000 a century ago to fewer than 3,500 today.

Experts say the survival of the big cat in India will determine the future of the species.