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Stone Pelting on Tiger Cubs :Kanha Pench Corridor Becomes Conflict Zone

 Two tiger cubs- less than 6 month old- escaped the fury of a 5000 strong mob in a village located in Kanha-Pench corridor . Villagers tried to kill them by pelting stones when the cubs had reached a water body to quench their thirst. This issue  has highlighted again the plight of the fragmented tiger corridors. It also reminds the urgency to restore their sanctity. People Shouted Kill the Cubs Kill the Cubs  Wildlife is most vulnerable during summer, due to scarcity of resources. Water is the key limited resource inside jungles . Special monitoring ofwater holes should be carried out all along the corridors, to effectively deter such incidents, poaching of herbivores and poisoning of tigers and othercarnivores. In the scorching summer, the two cubs also reached a nearby waterbody . In the adjacent forest , the villagers were plucking tendu leaves- a minor forest produce  to  roll beedi , a thin cigarette or mini-cigar filled with tobacco flake and commonly wrapped in a tendu leaf. Th

Naxals Spread Terror in Kahna Tiger Reserve

Kanha tiger reserve

Crown jewel of Project Tiger, Kanha National Park is heading towards a major crisis. Left wing extremists or Naxalites have spread their operations in the  jungle spreading their tentacles inside the core zone of the tiger  reserve . In the last post, we mentioned how maoists' presence impacted Palamu tiger reserve. Recently, they killed a field frontline personnel in Kanha creating panic  from the top to bottom in the park team. As tigers watch movemet of the outlaws from a distance, they too are under threat.  Global Tiger Forum, an inter-governmental international organistion for the conservation of tiger in the wild, has sought intervention of the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh who continues to be tightlipped. 

Tiger Hotspot In Red Corridor 

Kahna Tiger Reserve

This is bad news for Kanha, a globally acclaimed tigerhotspot and also a setback to all the wildlife lovers. Kanha national park was created on  June 1,1955 and was designated as a tiger reserve in 1973 under Project Tiger. One of the biggest tiger reserves of the country, it is spread over an area of  940  square km in the two districts Mandla and Balaghat. Together with a surrounding buffer zone of 1,067 sq km and the neighbouring 110 square km Phen Sanctuary, it forms the Kanha tiger reserve,the largest national park in central India. Besides housing over 70 tigers, the park also hosts leopards, sloth bear, barasingha, spotted deer, sambhar and dhole(wild dogs) among other species of wildlife.  The lowland forst in Kanha is a mixture of sal (Shorea robusta) and other mixed-forest trees, interspersed with meadows. The highland forests are tropical moist, dry deciduous type and of a completely different nature from bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus) on slope.

A very popular wildlife destination world over,Kanha is now also an important point in the red corridor of the Maoists. About four years ago, they started operations in Kanha  from Balaghat  district which they were also using as a transit point to cross over from naxal infested Chattisgarh to Mahatashtra,police sources said.  From the revenue area in Baihar sub -division of Balaghat district , they entered the tiger reserve , first in Mukki  range and then  spread to other parts. They have increased their area of operation in Balaghat and the parts of the park  in Mandla  bordering  Balaghat , forest department  sources admitted.  In fact, a " major part" of the tiger reserve is in their grip. The top political leadership of the state and the country are “ very well aware” of the crisis but so far  no action has been initiated. Operations must be carry out to immediately flush out the outlaws.

Global Tiger Forum Seeks Action

Kahna Tiger Reserve

The Global Tiger Forum is working with all the 13 countriesin the world where tigers are found. It has expressed concern over the development. Its secretary general Rajesh Gopal, who was also director of Kanha and additional director general of Project Tiger, recommends a task force comprising the officialsof forest department, police and revenue department with the chief minister asthe chairman. He said that the situation calls for looking beyond Kanha at a landscapescale with a portfolio of sectoral  integrationinvolving several stakeholder departments , to support community stewardship.

Also ReadRailways' Push For Tracks in Tiger Reserves Contradicts its Green Claims

The effort also needs to be complemented by putting into the  use of state of the art technology  to step up the surveillance situated intelligent camera on a 24X7 basis to monitor untoward movement of the  miscreants. Thus, the activity portfolio needsto have both policing as well as community oriented elements based on landscape level master plan, the GTF secretary general said. Khageshwer Nayak, a former park director of the tiger reserve and member of the state wildlife board in Madhya Pradesh where Kanha is situated, has sought “action by the security forces.”  

Insurgents Issues Threat 

Kahna Tiger Reserve

Meanwhile,the maoists have started issuing threats in Kanha. They have “appealed”to the forest rangers to stop using “ GPS in their mobile phone” while trackingthe forest and patrolling their range. In fact they  want  the forest rangers not to use “ MSTriIPES,  a software monitoring system for tigers’ intensiveprotection  and ecological status. 

Also read: Deadly Train Tracks Threaten Tiger Corridor In MP    

The extremists feel that the software would reveal their location also. The rangers are concerned for their life and this would impact the tiger monitoring. Naxalites targeted many jungles of India in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh ,Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana.They use thick forests as hideouts. After a similar presence and later consolidating their situation,  there are hardly any forest or tiger management programmes taking place in Palamu national park  in Jharkhand and Indrawati  national park in Chattisgarh.

Representational Image :Rajiv Sharma. 

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