Mains Daily Question
Feb. 20, 2024

Q3. Relocation and reintroduction projects have different ecological purposes. Explain. Also, highlight the challenges with respect to the same.(10M,150W)

Model Answer

Approach to the answer: 

The questions asks about the different types of conservation efforts, i.e. relocation and reintroduction. Here, one has to mention the ecological purposes that separate these similar conservation efforts. Further, the challenges/shortcomings with respect to each of the methods are to be discussed. 


We can start by writing the common purpose of these strategies, that is to safeguard and conserve the species along with other necessities.


One can write about the Relocation strategy and its purpose, mention the ecological purpose under a separate heading and then, highlight the challenges of this strategy. Similarly, for the Reintroduction projects, one can write about the strategy and its purpose, its ecological purpose and challenges of the same. It is necessary to substantiate with examples, especially the examples of current strategies taking place, like the Cheetah Reintroduction Programme.


One can summarize both the strategies and then mention the appropriateness of either strategy as per the intended conservational efforts.


Answer: Relocation and reintroduction are pivotal strategies in wildlife conservation, involving the movement of species within their native range and reestablishing populations, respectively.



It refers to the process of moving individuals or populations of a species from one location to another within their native range or to a new area where they have a higher chance of survival. The primary purpose of relocation is to enhance the species' distribution, increase genetic diversity, or reestablish a viable population in a specific region.


Ecological Purpose of Relocation

  • The primary ecological purpose of relocation is to enhance the species' distribution, increase genetic diversity, or reestablish a viable population in a specific region. It is typically used when a species is threatened, and its current habitat is at risk or degraded.
    • For example: The earlier proposed plan for relocation of the Asiatic lions from the Gir Forest in Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh serves as a prominent example of a relocation project. The primary ecological purpose behind this project was to establish a second population of Asiatic lions in a different region to reduce the risk of a catastrophic event decimating the entire population.
    • For Example: Relocation of Tigers from Pilibhit Tiger Reserve to the newly notified Ranipur Tiger Reserve in Chitrakoot.


Challenges with Relocation Projects:


  • Habitat Suitability: Ensuring that the new habitat can support the relocated species is a significant challenge. Inadequate habitat can lead to low survival rates.
  • Stress and Disruption: The process of capture, transportation, and release can be highly stressful and can impact their health and survival rates.
  • Animal-Human conflicts: The relocation process can lead to increased human-wildlife interactions and potential conflicts.



These projects involve releasing individuals of a species into a location within their historic range where the species has been extirpated or significantly reduced in numbers.


Ecological Purpose of Reintroduction Projects:

  • Species recovery: The ecological purpose is to restore populations to their former range, helping to reestablish ecological roles and functions they once played in that area.
    • For example, The Sariska Tiger Reserve witnessed the reintroduction of tigers in the early 21st century after the local population was completely wiped out. 
    • Cheetah Reintroduction Plan in Kuno-Palpur National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
  • Genetic Diversity: Genetic diversity may decrease when populations are small, and reintroducing individuals from captive breeding programs can help mitigate this issue.
  • Ecosystem Functioning: Reintroducing species can have cascading effects on the entire ecosystem. They may fulfill ecological roles (such as predators or pollinators) that have been vacant in their absence.


Challenges with Reintroduction Projects:

  • Ecosystem Effects: The restoration of a species to its historical range can have complex, often unpredictable, effects on the ecosystem. 
    • For example, It may lead to changes in predator-prey dynamics, vegetation, and other ecological relationships.
  • Survival and Adaptation: Individuals reintroduced to a new area may face difficulties in adapting to their new environment and may experience higher mortality rates.
    • For example, Deaths of cheetahs due to chronic renal failure (Sasha), cardiopulmonary failure (Uday), traumatic shock (Daksha) etc.
    • For example, Deaths of 2 cheetahs at Kuno National Park by diseases “myiasis”, triggered by skin infections under wet radio collars due to monsoon rain, leading to maggot infestations and septicaemia.
  • Disease Transmission: Captive-bred individuals may lack immunity to diseases present in the wild. Introducing them could lead to outbreaks or the spread of pathogens.
  • Human Conflicts: Reintroduction projects can sometimes lead to conflicts with local communities, as species may affect livestock or agricultural practices.


Relocation and reintroduction projects are vital tools in conservation efforts, but they come with unique challenges. Their choice depends on the specific goals and conditions of the species and the ecosystems involved. These strategies play a crucial role in restoring and preserving biodiversity and ecological balance.

Subjects : Environment
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