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Kali Tiger Reserve to house Karnataka's first wildlife research centre

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Last Updated : 10 April 2022, 01:14 IST

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The Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Uttara Kannada district is all set to house the state’s first Wildlife Research and Training Centre.

The centre, which is expected to start functioning from May end, will come in handy in two ways.

First, it will help Forest Department officials to make decisions based on scientific data for better human-animal conflict mitigation; second, the centre will help its frontline workers such as Range Forest Officer (RFO) and their deputies to conduct research work on the flora and fauna of their choice.

The centre will house a laboratory, library, deep freezers and other scientific equipment required to conduct studies.

Speaking to DH, KTR Field Director Maria Christu Raj said wildlife management is primarily a scientific process.

“It is important that an enabling environment is available for a deeper understanding of the management interventions and their impact. This centre is expected to fill the current gap in management centric research in Forest Department,” said Raj.

He said the centre will have a dedicated team of forest officials who will conduct research and generate data on top predators like tiger, leopard as well as its prey base, water sources, grazing areas and habitat.

Training centre

Canara Circle Chief Conservator of Forest Yatish Kumar said the main aim of establishing the centre is to promote scientific temperament among frontline workers in understanding the forest ecology and also to give them a platform to take up research work.

“Many of our frontline staff are conducting scientific studies on frogs, spiders, birds, orchids and other flora and fauna species. This centre will help them channelise their efforts in a scientific manner,” he said.

The centre will also facilitate outside researchers to conduct their studies, he added.

The department has renovated an abandoned heritage building at Dandeli for housing the centre. The State Forest Department and Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority have allocated Rs 1.75 crore for the purchase of equipment and office needs.

Sources in the forest department informed DH that several states including Tamil Nadu, Assam, Madya Pradesh, Kerala and Uttarakhand have training centres focusing on wildlife matters. However, the proposed research centre at KTR would be unique in terms of research work.

Dr Prachi Mehta, Director of Pune-based Wildlife Research and Conservation Society, whose team is conducting a research on hornbills at KTR, said such fully-equipped research centres will help researchers come up with better studies as they need not worry about logistics.

“The biggest beneficiaries of this centre would be budding researchers, who most of the time work on a stingy budget,” she said.

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Published 09 April 2022, 19:31 IST

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