UNESCO declares Panna Tiger Reserve a biosphere reserve
Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Madhya Pradesh (MP) was included in the global network of biosphere reserves by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) last week, said an official report.
Union Minister for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javdekar congratulated PTR authorities via a social media post for their stellar effort to conserve tigers. The post accompanied a 50-second video of tigers in the reserve.
The UNESCO’s recognition cited PTR as a critical tiger habitat. “The area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income together with horticulture, forestry and cultural and eco-tourism,” the UNESCO stated.
“PTR was notified as a biosphere reserve by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) in 2011 and after nine years the UNESCO included it in the Man and Biosphere programme,” said Alok Kumar, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), (wildlife), MP.
“It’s a proud moment for us because the MP forest department did a lot of hard work to create a conducive environment in PTR to reintroduce the population of tigers. In 2008, PTR had lost all its tigers. The forest department had reintroduced a male and a female tiger in 2009 and within a decade the animal’s population increased to over 50,” Kumar said.
“Local villages also played a key role in conservation. Panna Nature Club authorities tried to sensitise local villagers about PTR’s vegetation and wildlife. The villagers responded in a positive manner and the landscape did not report a single man-animal conflict through the years,” he said
However, Kumar expressed concern about poaching, as a tiger was recently killed by a poacher in the reserve.