The apex body for tiger conservation, NTCA, has red-flagged mushrooming of resorts and erection of chain link fences in Madhya Pradesh’s Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) which were veritable “death traps”.
The reserve is famous as home to Mowgli– the protagonist in English writer Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’.
In its report on recent death of tigers at the reserve, it has recommended immediately stopping the construction work for tiger safari initiated by the Madhya Pradesh government.
The report contains findings of a committee formed to look into the the incidents of tiger poaching in PTR. At least eight tiger deaths have been reported in Pench and Panna reserves of the state between January and April this year.
“There should be restrictions on mushrooming growth of resorts/farms,” it said, adding that instead of tiger safari, stress should be on community ecotourism to involve the local people.
There are about 22 resorts and five farm houses in the buffer area of PTR and some of them are close to the core area.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said in the report said that chain link fences completely disrupt the movement of animals out of the core area. “In fact the chain link fence has become death trap for the animals,” it said.
The copy of the report was received in response to an RTI query filed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.
There have been deaths of deer after they inadvertently crashed into the fence.
The report said the development work for tiger safari in PTR is “unauthorised” and in “violation” of green norms.
The NTCA said that poisoning of small water bodies inside the tiger reserves by poachers needs to be checked and suggested use of sniffer dogs and daily patrolling.
“Take exemplary action against the staff, irrespective of seniority, found guilty of dereliction of duty,” the report said.
There are six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh–Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Bori-Satpura, Sanjay-Dubri and Pench– which have at least 308 big cats.
While the tiger population in the country was estimated at 1,706 in 2010, it had risen to 2,226 in 2014. Madhya Pradesh ranks third–after Karnataka and Uttarakhand–in tiger population in the country.