Fears over the boats being used for poaching of animals and smuggling of rare herbal plants. The NSTR has an area of 5,937 sq.km., and it includes the Gundla Brahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary in the Nallamalla forest consisting of 3,568 sq.km. core area spread across Nalgonda, Guntur, Mahabubnagar, Kurnool and Prakasam districts.

Officials of the Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) have banned the operation of motorised boats in Nagarjunsagar Reservoir by fishermen to curb the poaching of animals and also smuggling of valuable herbal plants grown in the tiger reserve.

Speaking to The Hindu, Divisional Forest Officer Wild Life Division of Nagarjunasagar in NSTR, M.Babitha, said dozens of motorised boats are being operated by some local fishermen for fishing in Nagarjunasagar reservoir since years, but they had got directions from higher-ups to ban the operation of these boats as they suspect that this could provide a chance for poaching tigers, other rare animals and plants grown in NSTR. However, she said that they were allowing the fishermen to use traditionally made teppas for fishing in the reservoir to help them eke out a livelihood.

Faster mode of travel

In the past four years, DFO of the Nagarjunasagar Wild Life Division said that no poaching of tigers nor any other animal was reported in the NSTR, but the higher officials had information that the smugglers could use the motorised boats to reach the NSTR because the boats could travel much faster.

“It would be very difficult, time consuming and risky to reach NSTR by ferrying across the reservoir using the traditional teppas,” she observed.

Rich repository of animals

The NSTR has an area of 5,937 sq.km., and it includes the Gundla Brahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary in the Nallamalla forest consisting of 3,568 sq.km. core area spread across Nalgonda, Guntur, Mahabubnagar, Kurnool and Prakasam districts.

The 2010 Tiger Census conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the WII, had pegged the number of tigers at NSTR between 53 and 66. Besides Bengal Tiger, the NSTR also houses the Indian leopard, sloth bear, Dhol, Indian pangolin, cheetal, sambar deer, chevrotain, blackbuck, chinkara and chowsingha. There are also mugger crocodile, Indian python and many other species of reptiles. In addition, rare plants were also grown in the NSTR.