Another hitch in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve project

Another hitch in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve project

25 May 2009, 0220 hrs IST

LUCKNOW: The project for Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is facing a last minute hitch. The new home for UP tigers spanning over 72,000 square metre area has not been a start to finish project. This time round the plan needs a change in demarcation of core and buffer areas.

The high-level meeting held by senior officials of the department reviewed the status of the reserve on Thursday. “Objections have been raised against certain parts of the plan but it would be rectified soon”, said sources.

The objections are over the allocation of area as buffer and core zone. Core zone is the deeper pocket of protected forest where no human interference is allowed and tigers can thrive in peace whereas buffer area is forest cover on fringes of the core.

This necessitates that lesser area be marked as a buffer zone. The plan broadly marks only 25 to 30 per cent of area for buffer zone. The major portion would be a core area to accord maximum protection to wandering feline population in Pilibhit.

Officials are re-working on it and might send back the blueprint to headquarters with corrections within three days’ time. That could be the only delay as of now from the department’s side, said sources.

Other states identified for getting a new reserve have arrived well on time but UP has turned out to be a laggard so far. If it acts fast it might bag fund in the upcoming meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in all probability proposed in June.

New tiger reserve is a need for Pilibhit which has fairly good number of tigers moving over scattered patches of forest. The area has high human interference making big cats vulnerable to poachers. There is a need to unify these patches through afforestation, active forest management and conservation.

The new reserve is about bringing all five ranges of Pilibhit under a consolidated patch. The five ranges are Barahi, Mala, Deoria, Mahof and Haripur. Number of tiger sightings might not be good in all of them still bringing them all together will increase the prowl area for big cats.

The department had to shoot down a young tigress from Pilibhit in March after it strayed out and became a cause of trouble. The case goes for the new reserve. Proposal on the new reserve is proceeding slowly after it got an in-principle approval from NTCA in September 2008.


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