Andhra Pradesh

World Wildlife Day: Conservation projects in Andhra Pradesh show promising returns

A lion in its natural enclosure at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

From a consistent rise in the number of tigers at Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) and rescuing the king cobras in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh to minimising man-animal conflict across the State, the Forest Department has been focussing on several areas to address wildlife conservation.

On the eve of World Wildlife Day, Rahul Pandey, Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), AP, spoke to The Hindu highlighting some of the key initiatives and projects in the State.

“Among one of the major wildlife conservation initiatives, the NSTR has reported a continuous increase in tiger numbers. During 2020-21, 63 individual tiger pictures were captured in camera traps. We have to put the figure in statistical tool to ascertain the overall number. This itself is a heartening news, considering the numbers were less than 40 in 2014,” said Mr. Pandey.

Undertaking active surveillance by using sensor-based camera traps, 24 X7 patrolling by the personnel and engaging the local community have helped in their conservation efforts.

The Forest Department’s King Cobra Conservation Programme in association with Eastern Ghats Wildlife Society in North Coastal A.P. has yielded good results and brought down response time. “In the past three years, we have rescued about 25 king cobras,” Mr. Pandey added. Threatened by rapid destruction of their natural habitat, king cobra, the world’s longest venomous snake, has been listed as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List since 2010. King cobra predominantly feed on other snakes and plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance. “Our aim is to engage with local partners and bring down the response time as well as create awareness,” he said.

The Olive Ridley Conservation Project is another significant initiative of the AP Forest Department which has recorded close to 30 lakh hatchlings being released into the sea till May 2020. “There are around 80 hatcheries in the State with 31 of them in North Coastal region. The A.P. coast is a sporadic nesting ground of these turtles. Incidentally, the past one year has seen lesser incidences of Olive Ridley deaths in North Coastal A.P.,” said Mr. Pandey.

The other major wildlife conservation project managed by the Forest Department is the ongoing plan for upgradation of infrastructure in Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Visakhapatnam, which is one of the 15 zoos selected by the Central Zoo Authority to create infrastructure on par with international standards. The Forest Department is also focussing on minimising man-animal conflict in Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Chittoor where incidences of straying of wild elephant is reported.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 2:10:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/nstr-reported-increase-in-tiger-numbers-says-official/article33974977.ece

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