Centre gives nod to Kudremukh tiger reserve

Centre gives nod to Kudremukh tiger reserve

A view of the Kudremukh National Park

Amid stiff opposition from the State government against including ten sites of Western Ghats for natural heritage property tag from Unesco, the Centre has given in-principle approval to declare Kudremukh National Park (KNP) as the fifth tiger reserve in Karnataka.

The KNP, is one among the 10 sties in Western Ghats in Karnataka, which was recommended to the world body seeking heritage status.  Kudremukh, spread across  Chikmagalur (110 sq km), Hassan  (130 sq km),  Dakshina Kannada (70 sq km) and Udupi  (50 sq km) districts, will be the 41st tiger reserve in the country.

Disclosing the government decision, Union Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh told Deccan Herald that “though since last one and half months I have been asking the Karnataka government to submit a detailed report to enable the ministry to release required financial assistance, I have not received any reply from other end.  I hope the state government will not oppose the tiger reserve status and submit a detailed project report to take advantage of the scheme to protect wildlife treasure,” he said.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), an organisation working under the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF),  had decided to give in-principle approval for tiger reserve to a total of six national parks, including KNP and the same has been communicated to the states. After getting a detailed report about the areas and required infrastructure, the ministry will issue a formal notification to this effect.

According to the minister, the declaration of Kudremukh as a tiger reserve would help the state get Central aid under the Project Tiger to facilitate relocation of families. Nearly 450 families in the vicinity have requested the state government to relocate them and  12    families were shifted last year, the minister said.

Earlier while seeking the tiger reserve tag, the Karnataka Forest Department had informed the MoEF that an area of around 600.32 sq km can be brought under the ambit of the project. The MoEF has already declared Bandipur, Bhadra, Dandeli-Anasi, Nagarhole and Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary as tiger reserves in the State.

Kudremukh reserve has unique tropical evergreen forests and high altitude grasslands with highly endangered and wildlife species, including tigers, leopards and wild dogs. This apart, the park is home for more than 169 species of birds of which eight are endemic to the Western Ghats. It also houses around 50 species of reptiles and 34 species of amphibians.

According to the last all-India tiger census, the Kudremukh-Bhadra landscape has one of the three distinct tiger populations existing in Karnataka which extends up to the Bhimsankar area of Maharashtra, the minister said.

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