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Monday, May 7, 2012

Tiger finds new home

May 7, 2012 By Amit S. Upadhye DC Srimangala (Kodagu) The camera-trap experiment, where the movement of wild animals are captured with the help of cameras, has shown positive results in the Bramhagiri Wildlife Sanctuary. Over the last one month, the camera trap laid by the forest department has shown the presence of two tigers. Two cameras, installed at Palemane section of Srimangala Wildlife Range, caught two pictures of tigers moving on the main road in the night. The cameras are fixed on the path, frequented by tigers and other animals. A leopard, some mammals and a number of nocturnal creatures were also captured by the cameras. Spread over 181 sq km, Bramhagiri forest is one of the critical wildlife habitats for tigers as it is connected to Nagarhole in the state and to Mudumalai and Wyanad Tiger Reserves in Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively. If this tiger habitat has to be saved, it has to be added as the buffer zone to Nagarhole range, which has the source population of tigers. But it is not easy as Bramhagiri forest has human habitation. A stone-quarrying unit has come up within 1 km radius of the forest without the consent of wildlife division. There have also been incidents of poaching, but have been hushed up due to pressure from ruling party leaders, the ground level staff say. “It’s important for forests like Nagarhole to have a buffer zone. Bramhagiri, if managed, can accommodate 20 tigers easily. The landscape is perfect and there is a good prey base. If non-forestry activities, including poaching, are curbed, the forest will support tigers. It’s a good sign that camera traps in Shrimangala have caught two tigers. More such experiments should be conducted across the sanctuary,” said A.J.T. John Singh, Former Dean of Wildlife Institute of India. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests B.K. Singh said plans are afoot to enhance the existing connectivity between Bramhagiri and Nagarhole, but they are yet to be finalised. “There is a coffee estate abutting the Nagarhole forest, which has to be purchased and added to Bramhagiri. If the connectivity improves, the conflict levels between humans and wildlife will come down,” Mr Singh said.

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