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Cheetah Cubs Born in Boma , Do They Have Conservation Value ?

When Aasha gave birth to three cubs in one of the enclosures  of  Kuno national park - there was good news and bad news. The good news is that this is the second litter of cheetah on Indian soil after Siyaya, another Namibia cheetah, gave birth to four cubs in March 2023 and that the animal seems to have acclimatized further in India conditions. Birth in captivity will also enhance their chances of survival. The three newborns  from Aasha have also increased the number of cheetahs in India.  The bad news is that like Siyaya's cubs, they too are born within the confines of a boma and would not get the environmental conditions required to survive in the wild. They would also be reared up by Aasha in the enclosure -safe from predators like leopards. But what does this mean? Kuno Awaits Cheetah Birth in Open Forest Cheetahs were translocated to India with a purpose. The Cheetah action plan envisages saving, conserving and developing India's grasslands .The reason for choosing cheet

Railways' Push For Tracks in Tiger Reserves Contradicts its Green Claims

Railay tracks in national parks

Two national parks of Central India forming one of the largest tiger corridors have been victims of India Railways’ apathy. The railways are adamant to lay a third track in Palamu tiger reserve and second in  Sanjay Dubri national park ,part of Bandhavgarh-Sanjay Dubri –Guru Ghasidas  and Palamu tiger landscape. It is  spread over 25000 sq km  with  an  estimated  population of  over 74 tigers. Many more  Indian jungles including  Melghat tiger reserve in Maharashtra, Gir in Gujarat and Rajaji national park in Uttarakhand  where railway lines criss cross the core zones of the forests.

Third Track in Palamu Will Ruin The Tiger Reserve

Railway tracks in national parks

The issue of railway tracks inside the core area of national park was highlighted again after death of a breeding tigress in Sanjay Dubri tiger reserve   in Madhya Pradesh earlier in March this year  orphaning  her four cubs. One of them died a few days later. Railways are adamant to lay a second track in this park. Over three hundred kms away in Jharkhand, Indian railway is ready with its plan to have a third track in Palamu tiger reserve (PTR). Existing double lined railway track along Son Nagar -Patratu, already bifurcates core habitat of North division ( of the tiger reserve) in two halves, making it almost impossible for large mammals and  reptiles to migrate from one side to other. There have been incidents of death of wild animals while crossing railway tracks, Jharkhand government told the High court in Ranchi.  A third railway line along the existing double line railway track is underway along this route.  Unlike the Madhya Pradesh government that had given green signal to the second track in Sanjay Dubri national park, the Jharkhand government has refused.  It has also disapproved of railways functioning, raising questions whether Indian railways  care for   forest and environment.

Also read:  Deadly Train Tracks Threaten Tiger Corridor In MP 

  Citing two cases,  a vision document of  the state government  for the revival of tiger population in Palamu said ,” The issue ( of railway third track) was raised by PTR administration and an alternative route was proposed along the periphery of PTR, so as to avoid fragmentation of core habitat. A meeting under the chairmanship of Chairman, Railway Board was held on January 13, 2020. The meeting was attended by member secretary, NTCA, ADG Wildlife. In this meeting, it was decided to undertake a survey involving the forest department, state government and Railway. The survey would look into the feasibility of laying of railway tracks along the proposed alternate route or to assess and propose any other route so as to avoid fragmentation of core habitat of PTR.”

Also readTiger Corridor : Now Satpuda Melghat National Parks Connectivity At Risk 

 It further said,” The joint survey, however, was done and railways after conducting unilateral survey in an utterly opaque manner, reported that the alternate route as proposed by PTR management is not feasible.”The issue didn’t stop here.  The vision document    highlighted another meeting and its outcome. The meeting was attended by senior forest department officials and those of the railways on February 2021 discussing some “bottlenecks “and their solution. “However, no communication has been received from Railways and it went ahead with its original alignment running through the core area of PTR. It has applied for Wildlife Clearance for laying of rail tracks and a proposal is pending before the State Board for Wildlife for consideration”, the document said. It also sought “intervention at government level”.

Railways Contradicts  Its Green Claims

Railway tracks in national parks

Indian railways might have  been taking many  green initiatives including net-zero emission by 2030 to become the world’s first 100 per cent green railway, the insistence of the conglomerate to go ahead with the railway lines in   protected forest areas depicts an altogether different picture. Its claims of planting lakhs of saplings and other green initiatives, portrays a poor picture of the institution. Tracks inside the  tiger reserves have already wreaked havoc, further expansion of  railway lines will impact the  ecology of the parks beyond imagination. 

Also read:  Bhopal's Urban Tigers Need Tiger Reserve Not Chain-Links Mr Chief Minister

For laying a second track in Sanjay Dubri tiger reserve , the railways cites a deal done in 1969  before the  forest and wildlife conservations laws came into force when it had purchased a piece of land  that later became part of  the protected area of Sanjay Dubri national park. Both in  Sanjay- Dubri and Palamu, the railways have been given alternatives  to  take out the lines outside the protected area but it  is adamant to construct the iron tracks inside the national parks, contradicting its own claims of going green in the times of climate change. 

Representational images , banner image courtsey: Nature inFcous

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Cheetah Cubs Born in Boma , Do They Have Conservation Value ?

When Aasha gave birth to three cubs in one of the enclosures  of  Kuno national park - there was good news and bad news. The good news is that this is the second litter of cheetah on Indian soil after Siyaya, another Namibia cheetah, gave birth to four cubs in March 2023 and that the animal seems to have acclimatized further in India conditions. Birth in captivity will also enhance their chances of survival. The three newborns  from Aasha have also increased the number of cheetahs in India.  The bad news is that like Siyaya's cubs, they too are born within the confines of a boma and would not get the environmental conditions required to survive in the wild. They would also be reared up by Aasha in the enclosure -safe from predators like leopards. But what does this mean? Kuno Awaits Cheetah Birth in Open Forest Cheetahs were translocated to India with a purpose. The Cheetah action plan envisages saving, conserving and developing India's grasslands .The reason for choosing cheet