Tiger protection: Forget roar, state doesn't even purr

The aim of the assessment is to tell whether the areas meet the minimum standards required to conserve tigers. The need for the exercise becomes pertinent after cases of tigers wandering outside forest areas are coming to light. DH file photo

Karnataka ranks number one in tiger population in India, but not so in conservation, say officials and experts.

While other states have taken the lead in conducting the Conservation Assured Tiger Standards (CATS) assessment, Karnataka does not have it on its radar yet. Officials and experts say the need for such an assessment becomes pertinent after cases of tigers wandering outside forest areas are coming to light.

CATS assessment is done by Global Tiger Forum (GTF) and started three years back. Uttarakhand took the lead in completing the exercise for two divisions around Jim Corbett National Park. GTF comprises retired forest and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) officials.

GTF heads have held a series of meetings with Karnataka forest department officials recently and in the past for the exercise.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (wildlife) C Jayaram said that he will look into the matter.

The aim of the assessment is to tell whether the areas meet the minimum standards required to conserve tigers. The assessment scheme has been so designed that it helps develop standards for tigers and other species.

The assessment checks 17 elements, which are classified under seven pillars (including tourism).

They are importance and status of the region, management, community involvement, tourism, protection measures, habitat management and tiger population.

Bishan Singh Bonal, project leader, GTF, told DH that the assessment was for areas outside tiger reserves. “Requests were made to officials and field directors on many platforms, but we are yet to receive the proposal. The intention is not to add more reserves, but assess shrinking areas, corridors and buffers for better conservation,” he said.

Retired principal chief conservator of forests and GTF recording officer B K Singh said such an assessment was required in Karnataka, especially areas surrounding Madikeri, Mysuru and Virajpet.

Outside areas

Yadvendradev V Jhala of the department of animal ecology and conservation biology, said such assessments only help in knowing the areas outside forest division better and making plans.

The yet-to-be-released tiger census report covered 30% areas outside reserves.

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Tiger protection: Forget roar, state doesn't even purr

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