The corridor lies in Uttarakhand, northern India, on a traditional wildlife route between Corbett Tiger Reserve and Ramnagar Forest Division.
WTI staff estimate that some five or six tigers regularly use the Chilkiya-Kota corridor, basing the number on tiger monitoring information and discussion with forest officials and others working in the area.
WLT is prioritising the Chilkiya-Kota Corridor because of its proximity to Corbett Tiger Reserve.
The tiger occupancy in the broader Corbett population block covers an area of 2,287 square kilometres with an estimate of 214 (190-239) individuals. This represents the highest tiger density in the world (9.4 tigers per 100 square kilometres at the landscape scale) and the population serves as a gene source for the entire landscape extending from Kalesar Wildlife Sanctuary in Haryana state to Pilibhit Forest Division in Uttar Pradesh.
Corbett Tiger Reserve, along with Sonandi Wildlife Sanctuary and various rural settlements, sits roughly in the centre of the population block. Corbett Tiger Reserve itself is known to be home to 109 tigers.
Ramnagar Forest Division at the other end of the Chilkiya-Kota corridor has a permanent population of about 27 tigers though a larger transient population is also present.
The corridor encompasses one village divided into three segments, and the project has been designed in three phases. WLT and WTI are supporting phase 1, which concentrates on the voluntary relocation of around 50 families from the Panod section of the corridor, which lies closest to the area of the corridor with the highest density of wildlife conflict.
In Uttarakhand the state Forestry Department is in favour of protecting Chilkiya-Kota Corridor. The completion of phase 1 is likely to act as leverage for funding and support from various state and national government agencies to complete phases 2 and 3.
Reducing human-wildlife conflict
To ensure the safety of both tigers and people living in the vicinity of the proposed corridor, the project requires funding not just to acquire land within the corridor, but also to provide alternative property and houses for villagers who wish to move away from the corridor itself.
WLT has previously supported the protection of a wildlife corridor in Wayanad in Kerala, southern India - the Tirunelli-Kudrakote Corridor - which involved the voluntary relocation of villagers away from the corridor. This approach has proved very successful in keeping both people and wildlife safe.
In eastern India WLT has also helped protect Siju-Rewak Corridor in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya. WLT is currently supporting the development of a second corridor in Meghalaya, the Rewak-Emangre Corridor. The map, right, shows the location of Kerala, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand.