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Tiger movement in Kawal excites conservationists

S. Harpal Singh
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Pug marks left by a tiger discovered in Shankarapur beat of Nilvai Forest Range

Tracking the cat:Pug marks left behind by a tiger in Chennur forest of Adilabad district.- PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT
Tracking the cat:Pug marks left behind by a tiger in Chennur forest of Adilabad district.- PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT

Conservationists in Adilabad certainly have a reason to be excited over the recent discovery of pug marks left by a tiger in Shankarapur beat of Nilvai Forest Range. Authorities at Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) here see in it a positive sign of the great cats migrating from the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra in near future thanks to improvement of necessary conditions at this youngest of the reserves in the country.

“The wild animal seems to be headed towards Indravati Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh. The over 1,000 pug marks and four cattle kills indicate that it is desperate for prey,” explains Jannaram Wildlife Mamagement Divisional Forest Officer G. Ramakrishna Rao under whose jurisdiction the KTR falls.

“Had the tiger entered the Tadoba-KTR corridor instead of the Bejjur-Kotapally forests, it would have found sufficient prey as also the much needed safety,” the DFO says. “In just a matter of a couple of years, we have made conditions here conducive for tigers to survive and propagate,” he claims.

A recent report on the status of KTR shows that the situation has definitely made a turnaround what with much of the illegal activities associated with habitat degradation brought under control. For example, illegal felling of timber which was to the tune of 3,100 cmt in 2009-10 was brought down to just 316 cmt.

“We have effectively curbed unlawful mining of sand from the streams inside Kawal,” the officer says.

The Kawal management has also set up base camps, check posts and strike force at Damndepally which eventually brought the wild animal or prey population in KTR on a par with that at Tadoba. The per sq km density of population of chital has increased from 2.04 in 2010 to 3.16 at present.

Similarly, the density of nilgai , sambhar, four horned antelopeand wild pigs has risen.

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