To avoid man-animal conflict in Shyampur range which falls in the buffer zone of Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) in Haridwar district, scientists have suggested long-term planning and relocation of families living in the area.
Two sub-adult tigers, less than 2 years in age, have injured over a dozen cattle and buffaloes at the Shyampur range. Wildlife Institute of India (WII) cameras trapped these young tigers ‘in action’ which has created panic among more than 200 Gujjar families residing in the area.
“Shyampur range extends till 80-90 sqkm of area. As it is adjoining core area of Rajaji, certainly tigers will move there. We cannot translocate every tiger that enters the range. Therefore, we need to work on a long-term plan. There are more than 200 Gujjar families that should be relocated somewhere else to conserve tiger habitat,” Bivash Pandav, scientist at WII, told Hindustan Times.
The reserve is spread across 1075 sqkm of which 720 sqkm is core area and remaining 355 sqkm is buffer area. Presently, nearly 13 tigers inhabit the reserve with two in the western part and 11 in eastern part.
Pandav said according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines, core areas of tiger reserves should be free from human intervention. However, in buffer areas, co-existence could be achieved.
During a visit to the range, he talked to the Gujjar families who said they were ready to relocate. However, it is now the responsibility of the state government to identify land for their relocation.
“Certainly, relocation is a very serious and difficult process. The government should start a dialogue with the existing families. I know they are ready to relocate. We need long-term planning so that even if Rajaji tigers are coming towards buffer areas, they shouldn’t be threatened with human presence,” Pandav added.
He said there was a possibility of presence of more tigers in Shyampur range. When the scientists started camera trapping in August, one tigress and two cubs were photographed.
Digvijay Singh Khati, chief wildlife warden, had suggested translocation of cubs before they fall prey to wildlife crime like poisoning and poaching. The scientists had accepted the decision as a short-term solution.
“We are serious about the issue. I have asked the core committee of reserve to send in recommendations for short-term and long-term planning. We need to adopt a positive approach towards this issue. Shyampur is heavily populated and the security of tigers is our deep concern,” Khati old HT.