Relocation of a few tribal villages from the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in Adilabad district as an important measure towards improvement of the habitat has once again come to the fore following the recent submission of a technical report on monitoring of tiger prey in its core area. Stressing upon voluntary shifting of villages, the report is based on a study conducted Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS), with the support of Panthera, a globally leading tiger conservation outfit which, among other things assessed the effectiveness of management interventions at the newest of such Reserves in the country.

“There is a remarkable improvement in prey density in KTR since the management intervention of the last two or three years. There is an overall biomass availability of over 1,700 kg per square kilometre now which is sufficient to support 20 to 30 tigers in the core area of KTR,” says Imran Siddiqui, of the HYTICOS, as he reveals the findings of the study.

The density of ungulates in these parts is abysmally low at 0.64 sambars and 3.2 chitals per sq km when compared to the 10.7 and 38.4 at the famous Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan. The study nonetheless, records a great leap in the density of wild pigs or wild boars at 22.8 per sq km to just 3.6 at RTR.

“In order to realise the full potential of the facility to support tigers and its prey, conservation efforts need to be strengthened further. Relocation of those villages which have already adopted a resolution to that effect, reduction in pressure on forests by controlling cattle grazing and poaching can do wonders,” he adds of some of the suggestions made in the scientific study.

The villages of Alinagar, Dongapalli, Malial and Maisampet located in the core area of KTR have long since resolved to accept the government's offer of a relocation package. There is a delay in shifting however, as tribals in other habitations on the fringes or located close to the Reserve also apprehend being uprooted.

“There is also a dire need to realign the present Nirmal-Luxettipet road which cuts through the Tiger Reserve causing a lot of disturbance in the prime habitat. The traffic can be diverted after stengthening the old road connecting all 40 villages located along the banks of river Godavari,” Mr. Siddiqui suggests.