Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Water crisis: Tigers travel miles to quench thirst

TNN | Apr 17, 2012, 02.26AM IST HYDERABAD: It's not denizens alone who seem to be reeling under a severe water crisis this summer. Even animals in the state's largest tiger belt, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR), are hit by the shortage with only a handful of manually filled 'saucer pits' to quench their thirst. The smaller lakes in the tiger reserve, with a tiger population estimated between 52 and 67, have dried up. Experts note that the tigers usually travel the 25 km distance to reach Krishna river in search of water and could be doing the same now. While the shortage of water seems to be most severe this time around, experts note that the NSTR belt has always been a parched region. Tigers in the belt, they say, are often forced to travel to the Krishna to quench their thirst. "This belt, which is a plateau, is known for water crises. The poor monsoon has aggravated the situation this time," said R K Rao, a former forest officer who has worked extensively in this area during his tenure. The area received just about 70 mm rainfall last monsoon as against the average rainfall of 650 mm it records every year. Adding to the woes of the animals is the rising mercury level that has dried up half a dozen small lakes and streams dotting the reserve forest. Tribals manually fill the handful of 'saucer pits' every alternate day. But that isn't enough considering the large cattle population in the area. "These saucer pits are often emptied by cattle grazing there. Water is barely left for the wild animals," said Farida Tamal, state director of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-India) that has now joined hands with the AP forest department to set up solar pumps in this belt. The pumps, Tampal explains, will help fill percolation pits within the forest area and thereby restrict the movement of tigers apart from addressing the water shortage. The pumps are expected to be installed over the next few weeks. Experts stress on the need to address the problem soon as they fear that the shortage might compel tigers to venture into dangerous terrain, increasing the number of man-animal conflicts. "When there is no water available in the vicinity, animals tend to cross the forest limits to reach water bodies or other sources of water (like a hand pump or borewell) located close to habitations. This is perilous," Tampal said.

No comments:

Post a Comment