Begin Again: Life After Relocation of Dhain Village from Bori Sanctury

In Madhya Pradesh, there are 4 major landscapes of tiger population of which Satpura landscape is the largest. The extent of Satpura landscape is 12,700 km2 and tiger occupancy is reported in an area of 1,503 km2. As per the census report of Wildlife Institute of India, Satpura Tiger Reserve supports around 39 tigers. Satpura Tiger Reserve needs more protection and restorative management to enhance the source population of tigers in the state. For maintaining the integrity of tiger habitat, Dhain village was relocated outside Bori Wildlife Sanctuary. A research study was carried out in in the relocated site to evaluate the impact of village resettlement on ecology of the area and also on economic status of the resettled villagers. Bori Sanctuary is a part of Satpura Tiger Reserve and is located in Hoshangabad District of Madhya Pradesh. The Forest Department successfully relocated Dhain Village outside the tiger reserve in 2005. In a short span of three years, the life of Dhain villagers has changed dramatically. Their social structure remains the same but the life has changed for better. The houses are well kept and the animal shed in maintained well. The stacks of harvested grains in the porch indicate that people have taken to farming well. The economic gains are visible in terms of material possessions in the village. The resettlement of Dhain is a good example of collective efforts of concerned individuals and various departments and in future similar strategy should be adopted for making a success story of village resettlement. After the relocation the area of Dhain village and surrounding forests has naturally been converted to luxurious grasslands teeming with wildlife. There is resident population of chitals, gaurs and nilgais in the area and can be seen during the daytime in the forests. Bori villagers are living in abject poverty. For over a century there is no improvement in their life style and over a past few decades it has deteriorated. Earlier people were engaged as forest labourers and they were able to earn some income from these jobs. For last 20 years they have no source of earning any income inside the sanctuary. A few people have small landholdings while most of them are landless. There is no irrigation facility and people barely manage to produce crops for sustenance. Of whatever is produced, most of it is lost to depredation by wildlife. Bori being one of the remote villages the people have to walk minimum 25 km to access market, hospital or transport facility. There is no school in the village so most adults and youth work as laborers in nearby towns. Due to sustained biotic pressure, forests near Bori support lower densities of ungulates. Our study recorded a sharp decline in sambar pellets and gaur dung near the village, both of which are principal prey for tigers, leopard and wild dog. Resettlement of Bori village is definitely a viable option. People of Bori will benefit socially and economically and at the same time the ecosystem will be able to recover gradually to support the original vegetation and wildlife in the area.

Supported by : Madhya Pradesh Forest Department