The wildlife wing of the MP forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) seeking permission to translocate the feline localized in the Kaliasot forests, on the outskirts of Bhopal, to the Satpura tiger reserve, some 130 kms from the state capital.
Sources in the department told HT that chief wildlife warden (CWLW), Ravi Shrivastava, has written to the NTCA following provisions listed under section 12 (bb) (i) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 that makes it necessary for the CWLW to take permission of the Union government before shifting any animal listed in schedule I of the Act.
Interestingly, the letter comes on the day when the chief wildlife warden refused to disclose before the media whether the tiger would be shifted to another habitat or just radio-collared. Addressing the media on Monday, Shrivastava said, “We will decide what is to be done at that time. No decision has been taken yet.”
“Our priority is the safety of the tiger and the public. If an untoward incident happens, then the forest department will be asked what we did towards that end,” said the CWLW.
Talking to reporters, Shrivastava said the Kerwa and Kaliasote areas had been habitats for tigers for a very long time. He said private educational institutions and farmhouses had come up in the area and blocked the routes taken by the big cats. “Hence the tigers were being frequently spotted on the roads,” he said.
Asked if the forest department had done something to prevent constructions and incursions by people, the CWLW said the forest department had mandate only over forestland. He, however, added that letters had been sent through the collector to impose restrictions over construction in the area.
Principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), Narendra Kumar, who was also present at the event, said: “In the 1960s the entire area that is populated today was under forest cover…It is not possible to do anything about constructions that have been come up after securing relevant permissions,” he said.