No tiger has been killed in Maharashtra last year, claims the state government.
Still the government wants to take up several initiatives, including formulating a statewide tiger protection plan, said forest minister Patangrao Kadam in a written answer submitted during the question hour in the legislative council on Thursday.
There are around 1,400 big cats — 40% of India’s tiger population — in Maharashtra’s four tiger reserves.
“As per the 2001 census, Maharashtra had 238 tigers that rose to 268 in 2005. The 2010 census has taken place but the results are awaited. In 2009, two tigers were found killed, but last year, no tigers were killed in these reserves. So, there is no question of depleting figures,” Kadam said in response to query on the status of the tiger population in the state.
The state government has declared four tiger reserves — at Pench, Tadoba-Andhari and Melghat — all in Vidarbha — and Sahyadri in the western ghats. The Union forest ministry has asked the state government to proceed and notify two more tiger reserves — Nagzira-Navegaon and Bor.
The Centre also plans to set up a regional national tiger conservation authority office at Nagpur, since a majority of the reserves lie around the area.
Kadam added that the state government has charted out a state-level tiger protection plan that involves several departments, including the police department, revenue department, local NGOs and forest department.
“The plan lays out special strategies to protect and track tigers, prevent poaching, increase employment opportunities for locals and look for ways to increase the tiger population,” he said.