Tigers continue to face unprecedented threats to their existence due to poaching, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and
anthropogenic disturbances. The present study examines the physiological stress response of tigers due to anthropogenic
activities including wildlife tourism in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve using faecal glucocorticoid
metabolite (fGCM) measurement. We collected a total of 341 faecal samples from both reserves during tourism and nontourism
periods. Data on various anthropogenic disturbances including tourism activities like number of vehicles and visitors
were also collected. We ascertained the species identity and sex of all the samples collected using genetic markers. fGCMs
were extracted using a previously reported procedure, and fGCM concentrations were subsequently determined using an
established enzyme immunoassay. There was no significant difference in overall mean fGCM concentrations between the
two tiger reserves, but within each reserve, concentrations were significantly higher in tigers during the tourism period as
compared to the non-tourism period. We also found that the number of tourist vehicles and disturbance level significantly
correlated with fGCM concentrations. This study further supports the assumption that unbridled tourism associated with high
anthropogenic disturbance can be related to perceived stress and consequently may have an impact on the reproductive
fitness of tigers and long-term survival of isolated populations.
Tiger (Panthera tigris), an endangered species, is under severe threat from poaching, habitat
loss, prey depletion and habitat disturbance. Such factors have been reported causing
local extermination of tiger populations ...