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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Unified control of core, buffer for TATR FD Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN

NAGPUR: In a move that could go a long way in ensure buffer area management gives priority to tiger conservation, the state government is finally considering giving unified control of the core and buffer areas to the field director of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). The issue will come up for discussion with forest minister Patangrao Kadam during his visit to Nagpur on September 16. Some MLAs from Chandrapur district, who are opposing the move, allegedly to favour timber and mining lobby, have also been invited to the meeting to clear confusion. Praveen Pardeshi, principal secretary (forests), confirmed the development. "Unified control of core and buffer areas with the field director of tiger reserve has been recommended by NTCA and practised in other tiger reserves. The same approach seems suitable for orienting buffer area management. Rights of people in buffer will not be harmed," Pardeshi said. A committee appointed by PCCF (wildlife) in October 2010 headed by additional PCCF AK Saxena, APCCF Shree Bhagwan, CCF VK Sinha, CF GRK Rao and Satpuda Foundation chief Kishor Rithe had also recommended reorganization of Chandrapur division in the buffer area and give unified control to TATR field director. "This is a usual reorganization for forest and wildlife management purpose. Britishers have gone from the country in 1947. We've shifted from timber extraction era to conservation field. Indian Wildlife And Forest Acts have been changed and given complete focus on conservation especially from 2002," Rithe said. Rithe further said where tiger reserves have been created, their buffer and core areas have been given to wildlife department to manage. "The Centre is planning to have a separate wildlife department to manage protected areas (PAs) properly," he added. "Now, Maharashtra cannot lag behind. A few politicians who are against this idea will have to think about future of Chandrapur district," Rithe, member of National Board for Wild Life (NBWL), added. Currently, three administrative units viz. Chandrapur, Brahmapuri and West Chanda FDCM divisions have overlapping administrative jurisdiction. Large areas of Chandrapur division fall in the buffer area and only a few compartments of Brahmapuri and West Chanda fall in the buffer. It has been recommended that these compartments may be attached with Chandrapur division and entire buffer of Chandrapur may be constituted into a buffer division attached to the tiger reserve.

India's famous four tiger trails IPSHITA MITRA

"And when my eyes saw the big cat approaching stealthily from the dense bushes, the moment was ecstatic...amidst the dark of the night and twittering crickets, seated on the safari jeep, when our torch lights cast flashes on the striped skin of the royal animal and the tiger emerged in all its radiance...the sight was majestic..." These are the emotions evoked on sighting the majestic big cat in its natural surroundings on a wildlife safari. Delhi-based adventure enthusiast and media professional, Dilasha Seth says "After all it is not everyday that you see a tiger prowling in your backyard...To watch a tiger on National Geographic and to feel its presence at a sniffing distance are two very different things. Hence that gasping moment of awe comes as a reflex response to the palpable experience." Tiger spotting is nothing short of an adventure sport that calls for preparation, patience and positive outlook. Let us explore some of the popular national parks and wildlife destinations that can guarantee you a rendezvous with the Great Indian Tiger. Bandhavgarh National Park : Located in Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India, the erstwhile hunting preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa, the dense Bandhavgarh is known to the world as the home of the big cats. With over 600 species of flowering plants, 50 species of aquatic and 18 species of rare plants, the real thrill of Bandhavgarh is in seeing the tigers roam the jungles freely. Where to stay in Bandhavgarh: Luxurious safari cottages and tree houses make for a welcoming stay at the Syna Tiger Resort. With a blend of earthy folk artistry amid the dense wilderness, the resort serves as a sanctuary to safari-weary travellers. With experienced nature guides to show you around the forest over safari drives and elephant rides, the journey into the wild will surely be a magical one. History has it that the species of white tigers, known as the 'elusive' White Tigers, where first sighted in Bandhavgarh. So if luck comes your way, spotting a white tiger while you are seated on an elephant back can make your day. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand: A paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, Jim Corbett National Park (that turned 75 this year) is known to house a population of 200 plus tigers along a massive topographical area interspersed with hilly ridges and rolling grasslands. Where to stay in Jim Corbett: Dhikala Forest Lodge - Located at the heart of Corbett, Dhikala is the most preferred stopover for camping and night stay. Conducted tours by nature guides and private jeep safaris are comfortably available at Dhikala at reasonable package prices. Since the fabled grassland of Dhikala is situated at the intermediate zone from Delhi to Corbett, you almost wake up to a morning of deer calls and tiger roars. Time to visit : The best time to visit Corbett is from October mid till late June when the forest zones remain open for visitors. Permits of wildlife safari should be obtained 30 days prior to the date of safari. The tour extends for about 4 hours beginning as early as six in the morning. Sunderban National Park, West Bengal: To drop Sunderbans out from the discussion on tiger trails in India would be sacrilege for this is the kingdom of the Royal Bengal Tiger (one of the ferocious breeds of the carnivore). The charm of Sunderban lies in navigating through the remote reaches of the dense mangrove forest that characterises the world's largest Delta. What sets this vast tract of impenetrable forest situated along the Bay of Bengal apart is the mode of transport used to reach the habitat of the tiger. Sunderban Tiger Camp : Amidst a sprawling 15 bighas of forestland, the 2 hour motorboat ride from the camp calls for a culture-rich journey with local villagers performing to traditional songs and dances. Recalls, Srishty Chaudhary, an avid traveller, "The boat ride is the highpoint of Sunderbans. It prepared you for your meeting with the Bengal Tiger." Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan : Surrounded by the Avaralli and Vindhyachal ranges, the landscape of Ranthambore serves as one of the oft-frequented zones of tigers in India. The size of the park and its environment are two primary elements that determine the population and subsequent chances of spotting tigers. The territorial expanse, deciduous forests, rocky plains, lakes and rivers of Ranthambore confirm a suitable ecological climate for tigers to thrive in. Add to this the comforts of Mughal-inspired tents located on the outskirts of the park for a comfortable overnight stay. Khem Villas, Jungle camp : Equipped with standalone cottages, tents on wooden platform and rooms, a stay at Khem Villas will add a rustic charm to your safari experience. Night-time campfires, jungle and nature walks are some of the pastimes that you can indulge in. Aman-i-Khas is another exotic resort that provides unhindered access to the wildlife of Ranthambore Park while giving you an opportunity to discover the historical forts and rural villages that create this picturesque sanctuary. When to go : Safaris run throughout the day for a span of 2 hours beginning 7 in the morning and again from 2pm in the afternoon. The period from March to June is the best for tiger spotting for this is the time when the animal comes out in search of water. Monsoon should be avoided as the undergrowth is dense denying visibility.