Fire engulfs Tadoba tiger reserve | india | Hindustan Times
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Fire engulfs Tadoba tiger reserve

A devastating forest fire is raging in the famous Tadoba tiger project in Chandrapur district (eastern Maharashtra), some 180 kms from Nagpur and has engulfed vast areas threatening the rich flora and fauna in the sprawling forest.

india Updated: Apr 05, 2011 18:33 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra

A devastating forest fire is raging in the famous Tadoba tiger project in Chandrapur district (eastern Maharashtra), some 180 kms from Nagpur and has engulfed vast areas threatening the rich flora and fauna in the sprawling forest.

According to reports reaching Nagpur on Tuesday, the fire broke out in Moharli forest area, adjacent to Tadoba tiger reserve on Monday evening and spread 10 kms across the reserve. Over 200 forest personnel are battling to extinguish the fire, reports added.

Ravikiran Gohekar, acting in-charge of the project, said that there was no need to be alarmed.

"The forest fire in Tadoba during summer is an annual phenomenon," he added.

In fact, the fire broke out in Tadoba’s border areas and now the wildlife wing is monitoring it, Gohekar said. The forest areas affected are Sitarampeth and Mudholi forest region of the area.

Spread over 625.40 sq kms, Tadoba-Andhari is one of the oldest national parks in the country that was upgraded as tiger reserve in 1995.

It has some of the best of forest tracks endowed with rich biodiversity.

Apart from approximately 69 tigers, it is home to rare Indian wildlife animals like leopards (28), wild dogs (1758), wild boars (195), sloth bears (165), bisons (1052), deer (2039) and others.

Moreover, Tadoba is also an ornithologist’s paradise with a varied diversity of aquatic birdlife and raptors.

Tadoba tiger reserve is renowned for its rich natural habitat and is one of the oldest national parks of the country. The reserve is also credited of being one of the best-managed wildlife projects in the country that led to an increase the tiger population from 42 to 69 as per the latest tiger census. It was said that as many as 28 tiger cubs were born in Tadoba-Andheri tiger reserve in 2010.

However, sources said that the fire is man-made and triggered by people within the reserve, with ulterior motives -- illegal collection of forest produce like tendu leaf, mahua, firewood, timber and even poaching. The fire then spreads across the forest.

While wild animals including big cats, bison, deer and sambar escape the fire by moving to new areas, reptiles die and many valuable trees and medicinal plants are destroyed. The loss could not be ascertained as the forest officials were busy in controlling the fire.