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Wildlife corridors: Karnataka to partner with firms

One of the lakes inside the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. —File Photo: K. Murali Kumar

One of the lakes inside the Nagarhole Wildlife Sanctuary. —File Photo: K. Murali Kumar  

The Forest Department will soon ink an agreement with private companies to acquire wildlife corridors around tiger reserves.

A tripartite agreement between private companies, tiger reserve directors and the Chief Wildlife Warden is likely be signed in November, to create a formal framework for agricultural or revenue land to be bought by companies, transferred to the Forest Department, and notified as forest land, Additional CEO of the Karnataka Ecotourism Development Board Vijay Mohan Raj told The Hindu.

PCCF (Wildlife) Vinay Luthra said that nine “chicken necks” identified around three of the State’s Tiger Reserves — BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagarahole and Bandipur national parks — had been proposed for companies to consider buying under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds. “We need to restore some of these connecting corridors to wilderness to enable tiger gene flow, and elephant migration,” he said.

So far, four companies — McAfee, Hewlett-Packard, British Telecom and Sidwin (an engineering company) — have shown interest in channelling their CSR funds towards various activities in tiger reserves, Mr. Raj said. Tiger reserves already had a financial mechanism under their respective Tiger Conservation Foundation to accept funds “in cash or kind,” he said, and added that the new tripartite agreement will chart out the companies’ long-term responsibilities rather than a one-off contribution.

While companies have already offered to fund other initiatives of the Forest Department, land acquisition is the “biggest challenge” for the department, requiring several thousand crores, said Mr. Luthra.

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