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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New tourism route in Tadoba buffer soon

Mazhar Ali, TNN | May 15, 2012, 01.21AM IST CHANDRAPUR: In a move that is sure to ease some tourist pressure from the near-saturated Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), the buffer administration of TATR has decided to open a new route for tourists in the buffer area which has a good density of wildlife and scenic beauty. While safari in the buffer area will be cheaper than that inside TATR, tourists can also enjoy some special perks which are not allowed inside the tiger reserve on this new route. Tourism in the buffer area is being promoted with the sole objective of economical development of buffer villages and providing employment to local youths. The new 14-km-long tourist route will begin from Navargaon Chauki and end at Jakana gate near Junona village in the buffer area. "Local eco-development committees of Devada and Junona village will shoulder the responsibility of tourism on this route. While they will charge the gate fees from tourists, youths from the villages will take up the job of guides for the safari. Modalities over the gate fees and timings of the safari are being finalized. Tourism in the buffer zone would start in the next 10 days," said Chandrapur forest division DCF P Kalyankumar. The forest department has added a five-km patch of road to the existing nine-km road on this exclusive tourist road. Three water holes fall along this route whose forest and wildlife density is as good as that inside the tiger reserve. "Spillover tourists of TATR could be accommodated on this new buffer route. While the forest along the route has good scenic beauty, tourists can even spot a tiger and other wild animals in the buffer zone," said Kalyankumar. There would be no restriction on the number of vehicles on this new route. Visitors can take the buffer ride from either points at Navargaon Chauki or Jakana gate. "Tourists can enjoy snacks and coffee at some specific points on the route. We even have plans of plying a mobile snack stall along the route, so that tourists can buy snacks midway if they want," he said. This new buffer route will be open for the tourists even during the monsoon, when safari inside the TATR is closed. Based upon the experience gained from opening of this new route, the forest department has plans of opening two more tourists routes in the buffer area soon. Now, enjoy wildlife from machan The forest department is going to add a new feature of machan tourism to the wildlife tourism in the buffer area of TATR. Machan tourism will be taken up in Agarzari forest, located along the banks of Irai dam in the buffer area. The eco-development committee of Agarzari will shoulder the responsibility of machan tourism. "We have identified four machans in the dense jungle along the bank of Irai dam for the activity. Guides from Agarzari village will take tourists to the machans in the morning and stay with them for the specified time slot. Initially, machan tourism will be taken up during day time. Based upon its outcome and response of tourists, we may consider machan tourism during the night in the future," said DCF Kalyankumar. Tourist guides from the village are being trained in identification of birds which come in a large number to the dam. Being a perennial source of water for the entire wildlife population in the area, tigers and leopards also visit the Irai reservoir. Apart from the fun of staying on machan in vicinity of wildlife, tourist will have the additional pleasure of around 15-km-long ride up to the machans through the thick jungle. Formalities for launching machan tourism are in the final stages and this new tourist attraction is likely to begin in next 10 days, said Kalyankumar.

Sathyamangalam to house fourth tiger reserve in State

The Hindu The image of a tiger captured in the monitoring cameras installed in Sathyamangalam forests in Erode district. File photo “A forest research centre will be established at Vandalur Arignar Anna Zoological Park” Sathyamangalam will be the State's fourth tiger reserve with the government promising to create a new reserve for the big cats spread over 1.40 lakh hectares from the present sanctuary limits. Replying to the discussion on the demands for grants for the Forest Department, Minister K.T. Pachamal said that the government notified 1,41,161 hectares of reserve forests in Sathyamangalam as a wildlife sanctuary in August 2011. To protect the sanctuary and the tiger habitat, it decided to create the fourth tiger reserve on 1,40,924 hectares through notification. The State has three tiger reserves in Mudumalai, Anaimalai and Kalakad-Mundanthurai. The tiger count in the State at present is 163 and the number is steadily going up in the Sathyamangalam reserve forests. A forest research centre would be established at Vandalur Arignar Anna Zoological Park at a cost of Rs.34.24 crore with the State's own funds. This would be expanded with financial assistance from the Centre and upgraded to a Rs.74.37 crore research facility. A butterfly park would be created near Srirangam at a cost of Rs.8.67 crore on a 10 hectares in the Upper Anicut reserve forest. To prevent man-animal conflict, Rs.10 crore would be spent in seven districts this year from the allotted Rs.44.13 crore for four years beginning this fiscal. The Chief Minister had given consent for new legislation to prevent the felling of trees in non-forest areas, including government lands such as roadsides. A committee would be formed to ensure that ten trees were planted for every tree cut.

99 tigers sighted in a single day in Maharashtra

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times Nagpur, May 14, 2012 Here’s some good news for wildlife lovers! At least 99 tigers and 96 leopards were sighting during the nightlong machan (waterhole) census in just one day at different tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, including the famed Tadoba, Melghat and Pench in Maharashtra. The census was done on May 6, which was a full moon night. According to the state wildlife wing, apart from big cats, a number of rare species such as pangolin and mouse deer were also sighted. "If 99 tiger were sighted in just a day in protected forest areas, it indicates that the tiger population in the state would be over 200," claims Kishore Mishrikotkar, assistant conservator of forests (Wildlife). During the census, 634 wild dogs, 621 bears, 43 jackals, 153 wolves, 19 foxes, 2444 bisons, 14 bears and other wild animals were also sighted. The census was carried out only in 6 national parks (four of these are tiger reserves) and 37 wildlife sanctuaries. However, the wildlife wing could not carry out the census in Bhamragarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Chaprala sanctuary in Gadchiroli because of naxalite problem. The waterhole machan census technique is widely used to count animals when they visit waterholes. This technique is used when water sources are not numerous and widely scattered in the area. The best time to conduct a waterhole census is at the height of the dry season when water is a limiting factor. And that was the reason to conduct it during summer, in May this year. The state wildlife warden and principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF)-Wildlife, SWH Naqvi, informed that 45 big cats had been sighted in Tadoba in Chandrapur district and 22 tigers were spotted in Melghat tiger reserve in Amravati in a single day. However, not a single tiger was sighted in Navegaon National Park in Bhandara. But as many as seven tigers and an equal number of leopards were sighted in the neighbouring Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in Gondia district. Naqvi said that the daylong census was carried out only in protected forest areas. Maharashtra’s forest cover is 50,650 sq kms which is 16.46% of the total geographical area of the state. The state has 8,739 sq km of very dense forest while the area under moderately dense forest is 20,834 sq km and open forest in the state amounts to 21,077 sq kms. The Maharashtra has six national parks and 40 wildlife sanctuaries. These protected forest areas constitute around 2.5% of the total geographical area of the state and 15% of the forest cover in Maharashtra. And the recent wildlife census was carried out only in protected forest area. The tiger population in the state has increased considerably of late, thanks to better forest and wildlife management. The population of the big cat has gone up from 103 in 2006 census to 169 in 2010 census. Wildlife experts estimate that the tiger population has now touched 200 figure in the state. The number of tigers in Tadoba tiger reserve has risen from 53 to 69 as compared to the last census. Tadoba has probably become the first tiger reserve in the country to spot as many as 32 tiger cubs since January 2010.