Tiger reserve expansion plan goes awry

Tiger reserve expansion plan goes awry

Experts say a bigger area will help set up anti-poaching camps, aid patrolling

The delay in acquiring land on the northern fringes of the Nagarahole National Park has cost the tiger population dear.

A view of the Devmachi Forest

The demarcation boundary in Doddaharave, between Periyapatna and Kushalnagar range in the north of Nagarahole, has turned into a favourite destination for poachers. According to Forest Department statistics, eight instances of poaching had been reported from the area since January 2009.

Sanjay Gubbi, a wildlife expert and a member of the State Board of Wildlife, had suggested acquisition of Anechaukur, Devmachi, Mauvkal and other reserved forests on the northern border of the Park.

The proposal made by the Forest department in this regard in 2008 was seen as a long-term solution to consolidate the tiger habitats and expand the tiger reserve by about 20 per cent.

The proposal, approved by Dilip Kumar, the then principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden, would have seen the light of day had there been no political pressure or interference from the timber lobby. It is learnt that the proposal was shelved to ensure indiscriminate timber extraction in the area.

Declared reserved forests way back in 1891 during the colonial era, these areas have the potential of serving as “sink sites” if included to the tiger reserve.

“Adding them to the tiger reserve will facilitate setting up of anti-poaching camps and aid regular patrolling,” Gubbi told Deccan Herald.

Poaching widespread

There have been several instances of poaching on the northern fringes of Nagarahole. On August 27, 2011, Periyapatna police seized tiger bones, six chital antlers and four chital pelts. 

Venkatappa, the man wanted in the case, had been at large while Swamy, his arrested associate, had confessed to poaching tigers in the Doddaharave forests.

 The matter is so serious that B K Singh, former PCCF, has sought an explanation from the assistant conservator of forests and range forest officers of Periyapatna and Kushalnagar.

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