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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Jharkhand’s only home for tigers stares at bleak future on International Tiger Day

The ever increasing biotic pressure, rising human interference and regular encounters between the Maoists rebels and the security forces have scared away the tigers out of this reserve.

ranchi Updated: Jul 29, 2019 15:04 IST
Vishal Sharma
Vishal Sharma
Hindustan Times, Latehar
The Palamu Tiger Rserve  in Jharkhand is one of the original nine tiger reserves notified in 1974 under the Project Tiger.
The Palamu Tiger Rserve in Jharkhand is one of the original nine tiger reserves notified in 1974 under the Project Tiger.(HT File Photo )
         

Palamu Tiger Reserve, Jharkhand’s only home for tigers, appears to be staring at a bleak future on the International Tiger Day. The ever increasing biotic pressure, rising human interference and regular encounters between the Maoists rebels and the security forces have scared away the tigers out of this reserve.

The construction of the third railway line will further aggravate the already fragile link between the Betla National Park and the rest of the reserve as the line will make it nearly impossible for the tigers to cross over from one part into another.

Palamu Tiger Reserve, spread over an area of 1129.93 square kilometre, in Latehar and parts of Palamu and Garhwa districts is one of the original nine tiger reserves notified in 1974 under the Project Tiger. Then, it had 22 tigers.

The reserve recorded its highest tiger population of 71 in 1995, but the big cat population has been dwindling since then. From 10 in 2010, the number came down to just three in 2014. However, the scat analysis and camera traps during 2018 All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) found no tigers in the reserve area.

Noted wild life expert and member of state wild life board Dr DS Srivastava said, “The additional rail line will make it very difficult for the elephants to cross over from Baresarh to Betla and back thus increasing the man-animal conflict.”

He further said, “Apart from these problems, the biggest concern is the government’s apathy towards saving tigers and lack of community participation in conservation work.”

Srivastava also pointed out, “The tiger reserve management needs to build a better rapport with the locals who can bring about great transformation in the entire scenario. We have a very suitable landscape for tigers in Palamu but different approach is needed for reaping the benefits.”

However, the reserve officials are focusing on a theme to make local people proudly associate with the presence of wild ife in their area in a series of programmes on July 29, the Global Tiger Day. “We are holding mass awareness drives among village children to make them realise the importance of tigers, forests and environment,” informed Vinay Kant Mishra, the deputy director of PTR North division.

The construction of the third railway line will further aggravate the already fragile link between the Betla National Park and the rest of the reserve as the line will make it nearly impossible for the tigers to cross over from one part into another.

Palamu Tiger Reserve, spread over an area of 1129.93 square kilometre, in Latehar and parts of Palamu and Garhwa districts has been one of the original nine tiger reserves notified in 1974 under the Project Tiger. Then, it had 22 tigers.

The reserve recorded its highest tiger population of 71 in 1995, but the big cat population has been dwindling. From 10 in 2010, the number came down to just three in 2014. However, the scat analysis and camera traps during 2018 All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) found no tigers in the reserve area.

Noted wild life expert and member of state wild life board Dr DS Srivastava said, “The additional rail line will make it very difficult for the elephants to cross over from Baresarh to Betla and back thus increasing the man-animal conflict.”

He further said, “Apart from these problems, the biggest concern is the government’s apathy towards saving tigers and lack of community participation in conservation work.”

Srivastava also pointed out, “The tiger reserve management needs to build a better rapport with the locals who can bring about great transformation in the entire scenario. We have a very suitable landscape for tigers in Palamu but different approach is needed for reaping the benefits.”

However, the reserve officials are focusing on a theme to make local people proudly associate with the presence of wild life in their area in a series of programmes scheduled to culminate on July 29, the Global Tiger Day. “We are holding mass awareness drives at among village children and schools to make the realise the importance of tigers, forests and environment,” informed Vinay Kant Mishra, the deputy director of PTR North division.

First Published: Jul 29, 2019 15:03 IST

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