Chain-link fences can keep tigers at bay

Chain-link fences can keep tigers at bay

Sunday, September 28, 2008 : 1840 Hrs

New Delhi (PTI): Iron meshes as chain-link fences can be handy in preventing predatory cats from entering villages near wildlife parks but buffer zones can be more effective for such cases, according to environmentalists.

Wildlife officials in Madhya Pradesh have decided to use chain-link fencing, a mesh made of iron, within the Bandahvgarh tiger reserve to ‘save’ animals particularly big cats from coming in conflict with the villages located on the periphery of the park spread over an area of 448 sq km.

“The long term impact of putting up chain-linking fence needs to be looked into if it is proposed for a longer period as there have been cases of ungulates not being able to save themselves when chased by predators once they are pushed to the fence,” said acclaimed wildlife activist Belinda Wright, who is also the director of Wildlife Protection Society of India.

According to her as the reserve is a high density area with number of tigers increasing, there is a need to develop a buffer zone instead of adopting short-term formula like erecting the fence.

Officials, however, say since the wildlife habitat is very close to the park particularly in Tale region where a tiger and two cubs have been sighted, the fencing would ensure safety of the animals that would not be able to venture into the human habitat and in the process get killed.

There are around 62 villages on the fringes of the park which has at least 38 tigers. It was declared as a tiger reserve under Project Tiger in 1993. “At present, big cats are found in those areas where biotic pressure is quiet high,” a park official said.

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