Nagarahole remains Karnataka most densely-populated tiger reserve

Last Updated 28 July 2020, 17:40 IST

Nagarahole Tiger Reserve continues to be the most densely populated tiger reserve in Karnataka. More than 125 adult tigers are roaming in 644 sq km protected area, which is 11.82 tigers for 100 sq km range.

Bandipur Tiger Reserve with 912 sq km of protected area has 126 adult tigers, however, its density of tiger population is 7.70 tigers for 100 sq km range. The two tiger reserves of Karnataka, which are part of the Nagarhole-Bandipur-Wayanad-Mudumalai-Satyamangalam-BRT block have 724 tigers, and the highest number of striped cats in the world.

These are some of the findings reported in the ‘Status of Tiger Co-predators & Prey in India’ report that was released by the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday in Delhi. While the number of tigers is increasing in Karnataka, what is worrying the experts and forest officials is the unequal distribution of them. In 2014, the last tiger census year, Karnataka had 406 tigers, whereas in 2018 the number rose to 524.

While forest divisions such as Madekeri territorial divisions (369 sq km) and Madekeri wildlife division (388 sq km) reporting (with 10 tigers each) high density of tiger in a highly fragmented forest area that is surrounded by coffee plantation and agriculture fields, tiger reserves such as Anshi-Dandeli and Bhadra tiger reserves continues to carry lesser tigers than its carrying capacity. The Kali Tiger reserve that covers a total area of 1,306 sq km has recorded only four tigers, where as the Bhadra tiger reserve 492 sq km has only 28 tigers (2.86 tigers for 100 sq kms).

The scientific study which was carried out in 24 Tiger reserves and forest divisions using 4,393 camera traps in 2018 has also given promising results in few of the forest divisions as movement of tigers were reported here. Bannerghatta National Park, which reported only one tiger during the survey ‘validates the importance of this forest patch as a steppingstone patch for maintaining the meta-population of the tiger in the landscape.’

Mokambika-Anshi-Mhadi-Kudremuka and Badra tiger complex has seen a remarkable increase in the tiger population with more than 150 tigers recording.

The report also posts a grim picture of human interference in the wildlife habitat as majority of the forests are under immense stress from human activities, including construction of roads, railway lines, fire, construction of dams/canals, poaching, illegal quarrying and invasive plant species.

The report also specifically mentions the high presence of feral dogs in Kali Tiger Reserve (6th at national level), Bhadra (10th), BRT Hills (27th) and Nagarhole (29th at national level). It also mentions photographic evidence of snaring of wild animals in Nagarhole.

The report also suggests for ‘voluntary’ relocation of forest dwellers for better management of forest.

(Published 28 July 2020, 17:40 IST)

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