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PhD Defence

Can tigers survive in human-dominated landscapes?

14 February 2018
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


S.S. Kolipaka’s thesis questions and investigates the survival prospects of reintroduced tigers and their offspring’s in the human dominated landscape of Panna tiger reserve in India. This thesis recognises the importance of both the sociological (human) and biological (tiger) aspects to address tiger survival in human dominated landscapes. The study describes the factors that allow local people in the Panna tiger reserve area to co-existence with tigers such as, people avoiding the forest at night and allowing unwanted surplus cattle to roam the forests. People’s behaviours are a result of their age old beliefs on tigers, good knowledge on wild animals and traditional practices. Tigers show adaptation to people’s activity and practices and also prey on free-roaming cattle. They did not target villages or become problem animals.

These insights show how people’s practices in a landscape shape human and carnivore coexistence. Such understanding also provides insights for improving local practices and emphasise the need for in-depth understanding of local cultures. The study also describes the behaviour of tigers. It shows how the originally released animals and their offspring use their environment vis-à-vis their spatial movements and choice of prey. Tigers exhibit high adaptability and also avoid areas of high human activity. These findings demonstrate how an expanding tiger population could co-exist alongside humans. Understanding these processes is essential to guide the reintroduction of large carnivores like tigers and their successful management in human dominated landscapes.


  • Prof. G.A. Persoon
  • Prof. H.H. de Iongh


PhD defences are free; you do not have to register.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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Maarten Muns, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282