Madhya Pradesh government to declare Ratapani sanctuary a tiger reserve
The final approval for the reserve will be given in the state wildlife board meeting which is scheduled to be held in August.Updated: Jul 22, 2019 00:08 IST
The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to declare the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary a tiger reserve for better conservation of tigers, a forest department official said on Saturday.
The state had received an approval for the same from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) 11 years ago.
Confirming the development, minister of forest Umang Singhar said, “We have completed all the conditions of NTCA to declare Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary a Tiger Reserve. This will boost tourism and improve the local economy of the area.”
The final approval for the reserve will be given in the state wildlife board meeting, scheduled to be held in August, he said.
“Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary has a population of about 40 tigers while the movement of 12 tigers has been reported in the forest area of Bhopal. The whole area will be combined as one to declare it as a tiger reserve. The area of about 3,500 sq km of Raisen, Sehore and Bhopal districts has been reserved for this project. The 1,500 sq km will be designated as a core area while 2,000 sq km as a buffer zone,” said SPS Tiwari, chief conservator of forest, Bhopal.
“The area has good availability of water sources and breeding places. The area is favorable for the tiger population. The facilities will be improved after notification as good budget allocation will be received from the center,” he said.
The forest department is also working on resolving the issue of tiger deaths due to accidents and poaching. “We will soon start construction of at least 25 overpasses and underpass for the safety of tigers. A dozen villages from the core area will also be relocated,” said another official, on condition of anonymity.
Hailing the decision of the government, wildlife activist Ajay Dubey said, “After being notified as a tiger reserve, the layers of security in the area will be increased. We are happy about it. We fought a long fight for it as illegal mining and poaching are spoiling one of the best tiger habitats.”
In 2008, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had given its approval for the ‘in-principle’ change. Later, in January 2016, the then Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government had said they were not willing to convert it into a tiger reserve.