Wednesday, May 28, 2008 02:11 IST
It will be the first reserve in western Maharashtra and fourth in the state
After several months of deliberation, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has finally declared Sahyadri as a tiger reserve.
The 741.22 sq km reserve will be the first in western Maharashtra and the fourth in the state after Melghat, Tadoba-Andhari and Pench Tiger Reserves.
In a meeting held on May 21, the NTCA also cleared creation of four more reserves in the country ? Sunabeda in Orissa, Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh, and Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka.
A three member expert committee comprising B Majumdar, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), Dr Nand Kishore, chief conservator of forests (CCF), and wildlife conservationist Kishor Rithe was formed for identification and demarcation of tiger habitats. Though the committee had proposed to declare four areas ? Sahyadri, Tadoba, Pench and Melghat ? as critical tiger habitats on December 30, 2007, they had recently resubmitted the proposal for declaring Sahyadri as a reserve.
“Our consistent efforts have finally yielded result. Sahyadri being declared a tiger reserve is a blessing as it will help us get more funds to develop it,” said Majumdar.
Nature-lovers who have been lobbying for the reserve are happy. Rithe, a member of State’s Critical Tiger Habitat Expert Committee, had recently met union minister S Regupathy to convince him of the importance of the reserve. Debi Goenka of Conservation Action Trust and other environmentalist had also supported the proposal.
Sahyadri Tiger Reserve will include 317.67 sq km of Chandoli National Park and 423.55sq km of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. The Chandoli National Park was formed in 2004 while Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary was formed in 1985. The central government has also announced Rs10 lakh resettlement package for each family living in the 15 villages near the two sanctuaries. According to the 2007 census, the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve is estimated to have nine tigers and 66 leopards.