WII wants Palpur Sanctuary as new home for tigers

Following the rise in number of cubs in Ranthambore National Park

Aims to develop a corridor between the two sanctuaries for free movement of wildlife

New Delhi: With the rise in number of tigers in Ranthambore National Park, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) wants Palpur Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh to be developed as a new home for the wild cat. Initially, Palpur Kuno Sanctuary was being developed by the Madhya Pradesh Government to provide habitat to Asiatic lions relocated from Gir forests. But with the Gujarat Government refusing to part with the endangered species, WII has sought the development of a corridor between the two sanctuaries for free movement of wildlife.

Gujarat not responding

“As Gujarat Government is not responding to the proposal positively, we have asked Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Governments to work on the development of a corridor connecting the two sanctuaries,” Qamar Querishi, WII official said here. The move has come following the birth of as many as 20 cubs in the Ranthambore National Park, taking the total number of tigers in the sanctuary to 40 from 26 in 2005. However, this has led to pressure on the available area.

“Once they gain maturity which is at the age of four, they start demarcating their territories and if not provided suitable alternatives end up fighting with each other for their land or venture outside the forests only to be killed by villagers or poachers,” Mr. Querishi said.

Village relocation

Spread over 344.686 sq km, the Madhya Pradesh Government has taken various steps to develop the Kuno park by relocating 24 villages and taking a lot of conservation measures besides developing waterholes, the official added. “We have asked the State Government to ensure removal of bio-mass, provide cover, reduce disturbance and make the corridor safe for movement of wild animals,” he said.

Rajesh Gopal, director of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said presently most of the striped cats were living in the core area of Ranthambore National Park. “But there is an urgent need to reduce pressure on the buffer area in the region spread over around 3000 sq km to avoid man-human conflicts and stop straying of domestic animals,” he said adding habitat in Palpur Kuno Sanctuary will help in better dispersal of the tigers. -- PTI