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Tadoba tiger reserve likely to be extended

January 03, 2010 16:14 IST
A proposal to expand the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) by an additional 1,100 sq km from the current 625.40 sq km has been sent to the Maharashtra. "We have proposed to include another 1,100 sq km to TATR which has about 45 big cats and at least 12 to 14 cubs. Once the new area is added, TATR will become an ideal habitat for tigers," S P Thakre, Conservator of Forest and field director, TATR told PTI.

"We must have inviolate areas if we want the tiger to survive, hence we feel that the area of TATR should be extended," Thakre said. Roughly 100 sq km area was required for a breeding zone for tigresses for which a buffer zone was proposed. The proposal is pending with the state government, he said. New areas proposed to be included were Bramhagiri, West Chanda and Chandrapur, he said. If new areas were added to TATR, he said, it would help provide better management. "Because now once a tiger goes beyond our territory it faces the threat of poaching."

Thakre said tigers from TATR and Chandrapur forest often crossed over to other areas, including neighbouring Gadchiroli district, which exposed them to poaching. Four cubs were orphaned in Central Chanda after the disappearance of their mother, he said, while giving an instance of such cases.

Last month, the CBI had arrested four poachers, who were mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, from the reserve and Chandrapur and seized two tigers skins from them. A district tiger cell headed by SP, Chandrapur has also been formed to keep a watch on poachers. The creation of National Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, he said, was a positive step to fight wildlife-related crime, but funds and manpower continued to pose major problems for conservation. The creation of a "secret fund" was necessary to gather intelligence on movement of poachers, Thakre said, adding "But, even wages of those engaged in conservation and protection activities are delayed."

The TATR authorities were using the money collected from tourists and donations for conservation activities in the reserve, a major tiger breeding centre, he added.  Another major problem was the existence of six villages inside the reserve which often led to man-animal conflict. Two villagers were killed by tigers last year, Thakre said. Three incidents of tiger attacks were reported in Chandrapur last month and nearly 50 persons were killed in the last three years, he said.

The villages to be relocated include Kolsa, Rangtalodhi, Palasgaon, Jamni and Navegaon, the official said, adding sites for relocation have also been identified. A rehabilitation package has been announced for villagers who would be shifted, he added.

Sunil K Mukhopadhyay in Chandrapur
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