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Monday, August 29, 2011

Tiger fear lurks in Bhopal suburb

August 29, 2011 By LALIT SHASTRI Correspondent BHOPAL
Villagers living very close to Bhopal, in an area which is densely forested and stretches between Kaliyasot and the Kerwan reservoirs on the periphery of the state capital, have spotted pugmarks of a tiger repeatedly between August 12 and last Saturday.
When contacted, chief conservator of forest (Bhopal circle) S.S. Rajput confirmed the movement of a tiger. The presence of a tiger was registered in this area between August 12 and 15. The tiger was spotted once again on August 24 and after that it has been moving in this area. The territorial forest staff on beat duty had sighted the same tiger on the Kerwan hill on Saturday night. Earlier in the afternoon, there was also a cattle killed near the village. This forested area, contiguous with the Ratapani Sanctuary, is so heavily forested that it is difficult to spot a tiger moving in the area even from a short distance of about 20 meters.
Mr Rajput pointed out that this landscape forming the tri-junction of three districts — Bhopal, Sehore and Raisen — has very good quality forest with lot of trees and rock shelters. The forest belt is contiguous with Ratapani Sanctuary, which has witnessed a 70 per cent increase in tiger population from nine to 16 in two successive tiger census operations — one conducted in 2006 and the next in 2010.
On the prolonged movement of a tiger in a territory close to Bhopal, principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) H.S. Pabla said that this could be incidental or due to territorial issues as the tiger population has gone up considerably in the Ratapani Sanctuary. Last December and January also, a tigress was seem moving in this area with two cubs, he added. Since there is no pray base in this area, chances of predatory attacks and man-animal conflict are high in this territory, Dr Pabla emphasised.
Two major educational institutes are located in this territory which was proposed to be declared as a PSP (public-semi-public) area in the latest city master plan which could not see the light of day due to court intervention. The state government has tried to declare this area as PSP despite objections raise by the concerned forest department authorities on the ground that this forested belt is contiguous with the forests of Kathotia, Jhiri, Imlana and Delawadi.

Centre rues lack of review at Pakke

- Hydel projects pose threat to the tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh
Guwahati, Aug. 28: The Centre has indicated that there has been no systematic assessment of threats to Pakke tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh from power projects.

This has been pointed out in the management effectiveness evaluation report of Pakke tiger reserve prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority.

“The threats have been identified in a systematic way, but there have been no systematic assessment,” the report said.

It said power houses and hydel projects, which pose as new threats, would affect the protection efforts because of the increased biotic pressure, pollution and others.

The biological corridors currently used by animals would also be affected, it said.

The 861.95 square km Pakke tiger reserve lies on the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

A park official said of the four power projects coming up in the vicinity, two would require diversion of the core area of the reserve.

“We have been raising these issues constantly with the authorities at the Centre as these are threats to the reserve,” the official said.

The report said the state government has signed an MoU with Mountain Fall Company based in Delhi for construction of 1,200MW power project across Kameng river near Pinjuli where the Pakke tiger reserve, Eagle Nest wildlife sanctuary and Thenga reserve forest merge.

“Though the Mountain Fall Company has not submitted its report, the pre-feasibility report of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (Neepco) reportedly suggests 27 hectares of the tiger reserve will be submerged in addition to the expected disturbance during construction,” it said.

“We are being constantly pressurised to give clearance to the projects as MoUs have been signed with the state government,” the official said.

The report said the construction of 600MW power house at Kimi in the north western part of the reserve has brought in thousands of labourers leading to several settlements in the fringes, which could be a threat in future. “A diversion tunnel at Pakke side under the dam will also affect the reserve,” it said.

The tiger population of Pakke, which it shares with Nameri in Assam, is estimated to be nine.

The reserve forms a part of larger landscape with adjoining Sonai Rupai sanctuary and Nameri tiger reserve and also reserve forests such as Tenga, Doimara and Pappum.

The Sessa Orchid wildlife sanctuary and Eagle Nest wildlife sanctuary are also adjacent, though on the other side of the river.

The area is also important in terms of watershed with several streams originating from the landscape leading to Pakke and Kameng rivers. It also forms part of the Kameng elephant reserve.

The area is rich in wildlife with 40 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 20 reptile species, 8 amphibian species and 12 species of fishes and butterflies.

The report said the communities in the fringe area are exerting some pressure in the form of collection of non-timber forest products and tribal hunting to a limited extent.