Telangana

A bit of cheer and some worry for green crusaders

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2018 was a mixed bag for environment in Adilabad

The Bejjur vultures continued to propagate while Phalguna, the lone tigress in Kagaznagar forest, bore her second litter of four cubs in February last. A tiger was finally seen in Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) in December.

While the Multani timber smugglers continued with their illegal activities, forests now face a renewed threat of depletion following Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s election promise this month of finding a ‘solution’ to the ‘podu’ lands which are being cultivated in forest clearings.

Large extents of forest have already been illicitly felled for converting them into agriculture lands by villagers as a result of a similar promise within the ambit of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA), implemented in 2008.

These aspects broadly constitute a mixed bag in the area of biodiversity and environment in the once nature haven, former united Adilabad district, during 2018. “Environment received comparatively good attention this year but there remains much to be done,” opined a forest department official.

Vulture, tiger figures

The current population of critically endangered Indian long billed vulture (Gyps indicus) at the Pala Rapu habitat in Penchikalpet Forest Range in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district is at a healthy 22 with the scavenger birds flourishing in eight nests and three roosting sites. Some more vultures are considered to have flown to the Kamalapur-Lakkamedala habitat in neighbouring Gadchiroli of Maharashtra, about 10 km away.

The movement of Phalguna within Kagaznagar forests is being monitored closely which provides her and her cubs a tight security ring. The Forest department has begun phase III monitoring of its tiger population.

The KTR is expected to welcome at least three cubs in Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary as they get ready to move out and mark their own territory. KTR has often sourced its tiger population to this sanctuary, which is located in Pandharkawda taluk of Yavatmal district in Maharashtra, about 60 km from Kawal.

Lost cubs, tree felling

Two things, nevertheless, which will keep conservationists worried in the new year is the failure so far of the department in capturing K4 tigress in Chennur forests to relieve it of the steel noose around its abdomen and the absence of three cubs from the first litter of Phalguna. The department hopes to capture K4 soon though there is no hope of tracing the three ‘lost’ cubs.

“We fear large scale felling of trees in reserve forests in KB Asifabad, Mancherial, Nirmal and Adilabad districts what with the government assuring the villagers of ‘rights’ on the clearings. The government should have made an announcement after formulating a proper policy for protecting forests as well,” lamented another Forest department official.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 8:18:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/a-bit-of-cheer-and-some-worry-for-green-crusaders/article25875303.ece

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