India Tribe Law Damaging to Tigers?

India Tribe Law Damaging to Tigers?
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A pair of Bengal tiger cubs play fight in Madhav National Park in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Only about 1,300 to 1,500 wild tigers roam India, according to preliminary results from a government census released in August.

The Recognition of Forest Rights Act passed in December 2006 grants tribal forest-dwellers rights to live on and cultivate their traditional lands—including areas inside wildlife sanctuaries.

But conservationists have been protesting the law, noting that sensitive species such as the tiger need access to untouched spaces to breed and grow.

"In my opinion this law is eco-suicide," said Ashok Kumar, a senior advisor and trustee to Delhi's Wildlife Trust of India. "It would pockmark the heart of tiger country and there simply won't be any forest anymore."

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—Photograph by Michael Nichols/NGS
 
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