North Telangana is not only likely to report an increase in its tiger population after the January 2018 Tiger Census, it will also get to evaluate its potential in accommodating more of the big cats from the forests of neighbouring Maharashtra in the coming years. A lot of tiger activity going on across the border in Maharashtra is a pointer that the flow of the majestic wild animals into Adilabad and Kumram Bheem Asifabad districts will continue, which also makes it imperative that the State government have a policy to welcome the big cats.
The death of three tigers due to electrocution and infighting in the forests in Maharashtra which are contiguous with the forests in Sirpur forest range of Kagaznagar division in KB Asifabad district potentially deprived Telangana of a few more tigers. The number of tigers would have increased by an estimated two thanks to the ones which sauntered into Tamsi and Bela mandals of Adilabad district a few months ago from Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Pandharkawda tahsil in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, about 30 km from Adilabad district headquarters town.
“We have seven adults and six cubs in an area which can accommodate only five big cats,” revealed Pandharkawda Wildlife Divisional Forest Officer B.P. Rathod of TWS spread over just 148 sq. km but has become the latest hot spot in tiger tourism.
"This overcrowding will definitely result in tigers migrating to bordering areas of Adilabad in the coming years and the Forest department should take steps like creating awareness and giving the wild animals necessary protection,” he suggested.
“Yes, any big cat coming here will be given protection. We will coordinate with Pandharkawda Forest department in this regard,” assured Adilabad District Forest Officer B. Prabhakar.
The Kagaznagar Forest Division in KB Asifabad boasts of five tigers at present but there could be more.
“We are awaiting a report on the scat samples collected two days ago from Hyderabad’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology to arrive at a conclusion that some new big cats have crossed over from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandrapur in Maharashtra,” said Kagaznagar Forest Divisional Officer A. Narasimha Reddy.
The buffer area of TATR located about 80 kms from Sirpur range forests in Kagaznagar Division, from where the current resident population hails, is also teeming with tigers. “Any tiger movement will be monitored and reported as is being done at present,” the FDO asserted.
‘Projects cause damage’
“There is need for the Union and State governments to spare a thought about tiger conservation in these parts. The policy to alienate precious forest for projects in tiger corridors, like in the case of Pranahita and Kumram Bheem projects, has already caused a lot of damage,” lamented a senior forest official.