Here, green grass is a prized item for thieves

December 22, 2018 10:53 pm | Updated 10:53 pm IST - JANNARAM (MANCHERIAL DISTRICT)

The forest officials of Jannaram who were part of the team which developed grass lands within Kawal Tiger Reserve.

The forest officials of Jannaram who were part of the team which developed grass lands within Kawal Tiger Reserve.

Cash, cattle and valuables would usually be attractions for theft. But green grass? Sounds incredible. But in the Jannaram division of Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) green fodder ranks high in the priority list of forest communities as it has become a rare commodity of late.

“It also denotes the success of our efforts to control degradation of grasslands within the area and develop it into pastures for wild animals,” claimed KTR’ s Jannaram Forest Divisional Officer K. Ravinder as he elaborated the initiative. “The incidence of grass thefts so far have not impacted on the quantum of green fodder availability for the wild animals,” he added to highlight the fact that the extents developed as pastures are more than sufficient for the entire herbivore population.

The tentative population of grazers in KTR is over 4,000. The largest in number are chital or spotted deer ranging between 1,500 to 2,000 and nilgai ranging between 1,200 and 1,500, besides 300-400 sambars, 100-150 chinkaras, 200-300 chowsinghas, 100-150 black bucks and 60-90 of gaurs.

Green pastures

“Of the 27,300 hectares of grasslands available inside the core area in Jannaram division, we have 5,500 hectares for forest communities for cattle grazing. Nearly 500 hectares have been subjected to weed removal and eventually developed as pastures for the wild ungulates,” Mr. Ravinder disclosed the statistics in order to put the initiative in perspective.

“ The average consumption of grass by one animal is estimated to be 2 kilos per day. We have enough fodder for even more number of wild animals as the grass grows relatively faster,” he said on the quantum of fodder available through the developed grasslands.

The success of the initiative also depended on the move to restrict cattle grazing in the 59 villages located in the Divisional Forest area. The population of domestic cattle is about one lakh, which has an enormous demand for green fodder.

“ Each of the village was allocated about 500 acres of adjacent land for local cattle grazing. This eased the pressure on the core area considerably and made it possible for us to let the grass grow naturally in selected places,” the FDO pointed out.

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