Increasing tiger population in the forests around Kerwa on the outskirts of Bhopal has become a major worry to residents as tiger-human conflict looms large, says a wildlife expert.
Ten tigers sharing an area with 20 villages and an expanding city is a matter of concern, said HS Pabla, former chief wildlife warden and member of the state wildlife board.
“It is imperative to keep the tigers away from human beings or else an accident can happen anytime,” he said.
“Active management of the tiger population is a must. The (forest) department must not be an onlooker.
“The tiger fascinates everyone and it would be very difficult to prevent people from coming to see it. A fence can be used to prevent tigers from coming close to human habitations and access to forested areas should be cut off for human beings.
“When all this fails and tigers continue to be seen around human habitations, they should be tranquilised and shifted to another habitat that does not have human interference.”
The state administration and the forest department, however, are yet to wake up to the looming threat.
The areas around the Kerwa forest have a number of human habitations and educational institutions.
Last week, a tiger was sighted by students near a farm at Kerwa. The tiger sat near the farm for more than 45 minutes before disappearing into the forest.
“It is impossible for the forest department to be present everywhere. Anything could have happened. I think they should try and shift the tiger to a safer place,” said a person who had seen the tiger.
Divisional commissioner SB Singh has directed forest and district officials not to allow people from going to the Kerwa area at night.
Singh instructed the officials to hold a meeting with management of educational institutions in Kerwa to inform students about the presence of tigers in the area.
Additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) RP Singh said: “A couple of years ago, we had attempted to tranquilise the tigers and shift them to another forest area but that failed because the tigers did not allow the elephants from coming close to them.”
“We are open to all options,” he said.