Nagpur: The tragedy of Vidarbha is that despite dense forests, and National parks beings located here, they are not being properly utilized as travel destinations leading to unnecessary conflicts between predators and farmers; even herbivores and farmers.
On the other hand, success of Tiger projects, had given rise to population of the big Cats, which should be a matter of joy and pride for all locals, but not when their lives and livelihoods are at stake.
The latest report by WII – wild life institute of India – states that in 3 years from 2013 to 2016 number of tigers in core areas of forests have gone up from 48 to 51 while in buffer areas number has gone up from 10 to 17.
This is a high density for tigers in the park area of 625 Sq. Km. of Tadoba. Total area surveyed for tiger population was 1,700 sq km.
The tiger census was carried out using over 300 cameras and collaboration between various agencies. Principal invesigators were Bilal Habib, PCCF Vinay Sinha, CCF GP Garad and Parag Nigam. The survey work was done between Jan to May 2016.
90 villages also exist in the 1,700 Sq Km area many of them lying in buffer zones. The population of not just tigers but also herbivores like sambar, chital, wild boar and langurs and barking deer has also gone up making farming and other activities hazardous.
Farmers have begun resorting to ‘illegal’ measures like putting up electric fences round their fields in which some tigers have been electrocuted.
If the villages agree to be relocated, more tigers could be added to TATR area and dispersed in such a way that there is no overlap between tiger territories. (Tigers are generally solitary creatures who like to live in their own ‘domains’.)
Also, both villagers and animals are being affected as more and more trees are being cut down for construction of roads and for mining activities.
The issues can be resolved only when Govt. gets its priorities figured out and potential of wild life tourism – the fastest growing sector of tourism itself a booming industry – is realized.
—Pics by Kartik Mahajan