Conservation fund set up for tiger reserves

Conservation fund set up for tiger reserves

Public can contribute to the corpus; thrust on education, research

The State has five tiger reserves – Bandipur, Nagarhole, Dandeli (Anshi), Bhadra and Biligiranganathaswamy in Mysore district. Each reserve generates an annual revenue of Rs 20 lakh to Rs 40 lakh and till now the money was credited to the state exchequer.

The revenue will now go to the conservation funds. The Union government too releases funds for the project. A sum of Rs 18.58 crore has been sanctioned for the year 2010-11. A major portion of the money goes towards salary to staff and vehicle repairs. The additional sum now available through the funds could be utilised for education and research. The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, mandates setting up of a fund at all tiger reserves. The National Tiger Conservation Authority too has issued guidelines in this regard.

The funds would be managed on the lines of a co-operative institution.  Philanthropists, animal lovers and voluntary organisations can donate money to the funds. The conservator of forests of respective circle would have control over the funds. Deputy conservator of forests would be the member secretary while the assistant conservator of forests, range forest officer, forest guard and two citizens would be the members.

The committee managing the funds has the authority to take up development of the tiger reserve with the available money. It also forms the duty of the committee to educate the people living on the periphery of the tiger reserves on the need to conserve wildlife.

“We get revenue of about Rs 30 lakh per annum from Biligiriranganthaswamy tiger reserve. The amount will be utilised to strengthen the reserve with a focus on conserving tigers,” Deputy Conservator of Forests, S Manikandan told Deccan Herald.

The money available could also be used for the welfare of the forest staff deputed for tiger conservation tasks. Eco-tourism could also be taken up with the involvement of local people. The thrust of all the activities should be on environmental conservation.

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