Conservation of large carnivores is challenging asthey face various threats, including habitat loss and fragmentation.One of the current challenges to tiger Pantheratigris conservation in India is the conversion of habitat touses that are incompatible with conservation of the species.Bringing more tiger habitat within a protected area systemand in the process creating a network of connected protectedareas will deliver dual benefits of wildlife conservationand protection of watersheds. Focusing on thesouthern Indian state of Karnataka, which holds one ofthe largest contiguous tiger populations, we attempted toaddress this challenge using a conservation planning techniquethat considers ecological, social and political factors.This approach yielded several conservation successes, includingan expansion of the protected area network by 2,385 sq km, connection of 23 protected areas, and the creationof three complexes of protected areas, increasing the protectedarea network in Karnataka from 3.8 to 5.2% of thestate’s land area. This represents the largest expansion ofprotected areas in India since the1970s. Such productivepartnerships between government officials and conservationistshighlight the importance of complementary rolesin conservation planning and implementation.
Oryx 50(2): 336–343