Wed, Jun 4 02:27 AM
Even as most parts of the country have reported a sharp fall in tiger population, in the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve, one of the few successes of Project Tiger, the tigers are roaring – and spilling out of the core area of the park.
And with this, India’s oldest, and most famous, tiger reserve is set to get an extra 30 square km in Amangarh forest in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
As many as six tigers (including a tigress with her two cubs) are visiting villages in the buffer area of the park, which have led to the death of a villager last month and loss of domestic cattle, as the tiger population in the park grows.
Following a spate of meetings, the National Tiger Conservation Authority has now decided to notify 30 sq km of Uttar Pradesh forest to as part of the buffer zone of Jim Corbett tiger reserve, which is situated entirely in Uttarakhand.
The latest Tiger census found that tigers in Corbett had gone up from 137 in 2001-02 to 164 in 2007.
And in what is good news for the tiger, the curious situation has also led to a first of its kind inter-state co-operation between Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, with police and forest officials meeting regularly to make sure tigers in the buffer areas with human habitation are not killed.
Radiocollaring, which is part of the fourth phase of the tiger census, is also going to commence for these tigers on priority basis.
“As sub-adults begin to grow, it’s natural that they begin to find their own territories in the buffer zone as the tiger is a very territorial animal. The young tiger will move away from the area it grew up in. With this is mind, we have agreed to make Amangarh forest part of the buffer zone of Corbett Tiger Reserve. It will now get funding from NTCA. The tiger is not a treasure that can be locked up, it needs to have corridors it can move in,” says Rajesh Gopal, Member Secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority and Inspector General of Forests.
“In Corbett, the tigers are increasing and so are the other animals. Tigers will not stay confined to one area. The inter state co-operation, which is first of its kind, will help tackle poaching and crime also. For example, at least 11 km of the reserve are bordered by agricultural fields in UP which are best monitored by inter state cooperation. The tigers in the reserve will now have three forces to protect them – beat patrols with around 300 people, a 60-strong tiger protection force, and police officers from the two states,” says Park Director Rajeev Bhartari.