By Ashish Rajput
Proposals of establishing new tiger reserves and sanctuaries are on cards awaiting green signal from the State Government. Only 323 of 526 tigers have been found in six national tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh and rest of them were counted in reserved forest areas during the Tiger Census 2018. Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has sent 11 proposals for notifying new tiger reserves and sanctuaries for better protection of big cats located at off-side tiger reserves.
Tigers’ population has doubled in last 14 years in Madhya Pradesh and the State may play key role in achieving the target of Tiger X 2 (TX2) project of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for multiplying the numbers of tigers around the globe till year 2022. Tribal-dominated district, Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh is amongst the sites selected by WWF-India for TX2 project. “It is a fact that the number of tigers in and off-side tiger reserves are almost equal in Madhya Pradesh and Balaghat district is one of the best habitats with a good population of big cats. The department had sent around 10 to 11 proposals for notification of new tiger reserves and sanctuaries and waiting for a green signal from the State Government,” informed Rajesh Shrivastava (IFS), PCCF, Madhya Pradesh. PCCF Shrivastava added that tigers in off-side tiger reserves were found in reserved forest areas and Forest Department is playing a big role in their conservation. Establishment of new tiger reserve at potential areas will ensure availability of resources for better protection of co-predators. Balaghat Forest Circle has around 4,700 sq km reserve forest connected to Kanha, Pench and Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserves and has sizable tiger population potential for being 7th national tiger reserve in MP.
Notification for Ratapani gathers pace
By Ankita Garg
The proposal to notify Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve has gathered pace after the sanctuary showed surplus number of tigers in its periphery. As per Census 2018, Ratapani has over 45 tigers that crossed the figure of Panna Tiger Reserve (31). PCCF, Wildlife, S K Mandal said, “We are feeling more responsible towards Ratapani. Process of eight villages’ relocation will begin soon. Apart from tiger, the sanctuary has more than 150 leopards.” He further added that population of tigers has increased in State and there is need to development corridors for safety purpose. He said that corridors help to avoid man-animal conflict too. Process of notifying the sanctuary as tiger reserve is facing continuous encumbrance as last year proposal was redrafted for the three times but could not be finalised by the Government.
Current position of Ratapani includes 910 square km Sanctuary area, 4 ranges, 40 adult tigers, 29 villages, 15 villages are the boundary of Sanctuary, 8 villages inside the sanctuary, relocated village one (Datkhoh), village relocation in process are 3 and total beats are 70. A step to develop Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary as tiger reserve was started in 2007-2008 and at the time, in-principle approval of NTCA was given for creation of tiger reserve at Ratapani in 2008 but the State Government did not send final proposal to the Centre. The proposal of tiger reserve remained pending for several reasons since 2008.