With as few as 3,500 wild tigers left in the world, and numbers rapidly decreasing, the future for this iconic species in its natural habitat is precarious indeed. Tiger range throughout India, Indochina and Southeast Asia is now 40 percent smaller than it was in 1951, and today tigers occupy a mere 7 percent of their historical territory. Amid this, the threats are mounting.
On the Indian subcontinent, where the largest tiger population persists, only 11 percent of original habitat remains in an increasingly fragmented and often degraded state. Tigers are a conservation-dependent species, requiring large contiguous forests with access to water and undisturbed core areas in which to breed.
The Satpuda forests of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra offer perhaps the best hope for India's remaining 1,400 wild tigers. Constituting several tiger reserves connected by forest corridors, this is the largest viable block of tiger habitat in India.
The Satpuda Landscape Tiger Programme, developed by the Born Free Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University, brings together a network of Indian conservationists who are working in six tiger reserves across this very important tiger range — Bori-Satpuda, Kanha, Melghat, Pench MP, Pench MS and Tadoba-Andhari. Through bursaries, funded by the Born Free Foundation, these dedicated NGOs and individuals are implementing a variety of conservation activities to protect tiger habitats, mitigate tiger-human conflict, tackle wildlife crime and monitor tiger ranging activity.