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Red Threat on Tiger Census

Ahead of the ambitious tiger census in 2022, there are disturbing reports of disruption in the counting of the big cats in Palamu tiger reserve located in Jharkhand where  Naxalites have yet again threatened the tiger estimation work. Last year there were reports that the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) officials were allegedly taken hostage by the left wing ultras in Palamu when they were carrying out the work of setting up cameras in the jungle to capture the images of the tigers for the census. However, they were released later.  Palamu is not the only tiger reserve  in India facing the red threat. Indravati national park in Chattisgarh, now considered as a Naxal hotspot, and Similipal in Odisha are some other national parks where the Naxals  have affected the wildlife conservation projects. 2022 is an important year for tiger conservation as the tiger range countries – mainly the countries where the big cat is found  in South East Asia  and the Russian Far East - had  decided in

Protect This Wildlife Corridor To Save The Ganges

A simmering man- animal conflict zone- a wildlife corridor spread over almost 1 lakh hectares of forest area - is waiting to explode. The corridor connects two beautiful tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh- the Bandhavgarh tiger reserve (BTR) in Umaria district and the Sanjay -Dubri tiger reserve in Sidhi.As many as 30 tigers jostle for space with over 5 lakh people in the highly fragmented   jungle corridor seeking immediate attention of the government and execution of a concrete wildlife management plan.

The wildlife corridor:  Victim of government apathy


The glib -talk –saga of tiger conservation continues and solid conservation works are missing. Protecting tigers in this corridor assumes greater environmental significance.
  When wildlife conservation works start, human intervention is restricted which leads to various   precious environmental benefits. And no price tag can be attached to them . Here, the catchment of two big rivers – Son and Banas- and their tributaries involving the Ganga basin  are at stake . And for this, we need  to save the pristine Sal forest and a precious biodiversity of the corridor. As the forest and wildlife do not attract politicians, this corridor is neglected for long.   Further neglect of the region may cost dear. A local wildlife activist Ravi Shukla  campaigning for the corridor said several incidents of man animal conflict  were reported from the corridor regularly. Recently, a tiger was chased by a large number of  villagers by beating drums and  bursting crackers.

Besides clean water, one of the most significant outcomes of tiger conservation and their habitat forests, in terms of national interest, has been securing provision of a very effective carbon sink. Water , for long, has been inextricably linked to forests and wetland ecosystems through the hydrological cycle. “ Forests and wetlands serve as natural water treatment and purification systems”,  said the conservationists . Protecting tigers means protecting vital fresh water sources and their entire ecosystem. Conservation of these landscapes, when done properly, also contributes greatly to preserving  other endangered species.

Though authorities of Bandhavgarh tiger rsenational park understand the importance of this corridor, nothing concrete seems to have been done.  Referring to the issue of the corridor the BTR said,  " Set in the middle of Kaimurhill ranges which are the eastern extension of Vindhayachal hills Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve lies between two other major protected Areas of Madhya Pradesh: Kanha Tiger Reserve on the southern side and Sanjay Dubri National Park on the north eastern side. Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve can be a major source of population to replenish wild animals in the corridor area in between these two protected areas if the wildlife corridors are managed properly.”

But who would manage this beautiful tract of the jungle “ properly”  is a million dollar question  that needs to be answered.

The umbilical cord needs to be preserved


The corridor between north Shahdol division,
  Panpatha wildlife sanctuary of Bandavgarh and Dubri sanctuary is a long strip of about 30 km with a width of almost 15km fragmented at several places. This corridor is a part of the Bandhavgarh-Sanjay-Guru Ghasidas-Palamau  tiger landscape with a length of over 25000 sq km  and a  meta population over 70 tigers.  It has been identified as one of the four potential tiger meta-population landscapes whose corridor connectivity has become fragile requiring intervention of policy and restoration for functioning as an effective wildlife corridor. This corridor is home to wonderful flora and fauna.  Towering Sal trees dominate the landscape. Most of the people living in the region belong to the primitive Baiga tribes. Denied the right to education for years, the poor tribals are left to fend for themselves . For land cultivation, they are penetrating into forests. Sloppy implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) has also resulted in large tracts of forests being cut down  and  claimed as cultivated land. The jungle is fast falling prey to human greed and  government disregard for nature. On the contrary, if the  FRA is implemented sincerely, it would work  wonders for the forests.

 Also read :  Bhopal Tigers Do Have  the Same Fundamental Rights to a Home As Do We 

With one of the highest tiger density , Bandhavgarh is situated  on one end of the corridor while on the other end of the corridor is Sanjay Dubri tiger reserve. Spread over an area 1674.511 sq km, it consists of Sanjay National Park and Dubri Sanctuary along with a buffer taken from Sidhi and Shahdol districts. It is located in the north eastern part Madhya Pradesh. Guru Ghasidas National Park in Chattisgarh borders on south, of which it was a part before formation of Chattisgarh in the year 2000. The contiguous forest patch of  Sanjay TR and Gurughasidas continues as Tamorpingla wildlife sanctuary in Surajpur Chattisgarh  from where two forested arms project eastwards and serve as corridors to connect with Palamau TR in Jharkhand. Those involved in wildlife conservation believe this habitat has tremendous potential for recovering tiger populations as the whole stretch has a low density of tigers . With some wildlife management inputs and connection with Bandhavgarh source, the big cats can roar again  and  their population can be revived in the whole stretch.

Wildlife management will help save the Ganges

Apart from tigers, the reserve also provides shelter to wild elephants that frequent the Mohan range, named after the first white tiger spotted and rescued in the landscape
  by the Maharaja of Rewa in 1951. The terrain of Dubri sanctuary is almost plain while that of Sanjay National Park is undulating. Various perennial rivers including Gopad, Banas, Mawai, Mahan, Kodmar, Umrari and others flow in the reserve. Bandhavgarh tiger reserve is watered by more than 20 luminous rivulets . Some of the most important streams are Johilla, Janadh, Charanganga, Damnar, Banbei, Ambanala and Andhiyari Jhiria. These streams then merge into the Son river, an important southern tributary to the river Ganges . Experts believe community and conservation will have to go hand in hand in the corridor and the Baigas will have to be made stakeholders to save the corridor. Another section of wildlife experts believe that the region can be accorded a status of Conservation Reserve. Or there can be a separate   wildlife forest division formed for the conservation works.
Pic.By Ravi Shukla

Comments

  1. Very amicably & focused article bringing out the essence of the matter & challenges the area faces. It's all up to right minded people at the helm to decide the fate! If slipped then drowned is the result.

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