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Friday, June 8, 2012

New tiger sanctuary to come up in Vidarbha

TNN | Jun 8, 2012, 01.29AM IST MUMBAI: The state government on Thursday gave an in-principle approval to a new tiger sanctuary in Vidarbha's Umred-Karandla, nearly 50 km from Nagpur. With this, the total sanctuaries in the state have now gone up to 33. The protected areas (PAs) of four other sanctuaries—Nagzira, Bor, Navegaon and Maldhok—were extended to boost the dwindling protected areas of Maharashtra. The total area extended in the reserves amounts to 520 sq km. The notification of new protected areas was necessitated after the government last year de-notified over 7,000 sq km of the Nanaj Sanctuary. Following a meeting of the State Wildlife Board, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said the tiger population in the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district has increased substantially, leading to a spillover. As a result, many animals are straying outside the park, causing accidents and increasing the man-animal conflict. "The extended corridors will now act as a crucial buffer for the animals and reduce the number of accidents caused by such spillovers," said Chavan. The tiger population in TATR has jumped from 30 in year 2000 to over 100 in 2012. Special measures were also announced to provide relief to the animal habitat around the highway corridors—including the Mumbai-Delhi Dedicated Freight Corridor and Mumbai-Goa National Highway. A proposal to create underpasses on these corridors has been forwarded to the National Animal Welfare Board. It was also decided to provide additional vehicles to forest officers in Naxal-dominated areas. The state has also decided to rope in the irrigation and power departments for measures like building cross-canals and enhancing high-tension electric lines. Maharashtra has reported a number of tiger deaths and increased cases of poaching in the recent past, forcing the state to contemplate issuing shoot-at-sight orders. The issue also gained political undertones following a three-day visit by MNS chief Raj Thackeray to the TATR.

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