State notifies critical tiger habitats
Notifications issued by the government following Central directives
KOCHI: The Kerala government has notified the critical tiger habitats(CTH) of the Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary and the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
A 1,150-sq km zone has been notified as the critical tiger habitat of Parambikulam, by adding 958 sq km forest from the Anamalai side of Tamil Nadu to the sanctuary. Fifty sq km of the Parambikulam sanctuary, covering eight tribal hamlets, reservoirs of three dams and places where ecotourism is active have been excluded.
The notifications have been issued by the State government following Central directives.
The declaration is considered a major step towards ensuring sustainable tiger population. The tiger habitat is meant to be inviolate places for human beings where tigers can breed.
An ideal extent of the habitat will be between 800 sq km and 1,000 sq km, say officials of the Forest Department. In the case of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, the habitat will be 881 sq km.
This has been made possible by adding 148 sq km of forest area from the Ranni division of the Goodrikkal forest range to the 777 sq km of the reserve. There is no human presence in the areas of the Ranni division that have been added to the tiger habitat.
The authorities have excluded 44 sq km from the existing reserve which tourists frequent.
These include areas of the boat landing centre at Thekkady, a reservoir and the stretches of forest tract near Sabarimala where activities related to pilgrimage take place, officials say.
Earlier, a few States including Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Rajasthan and West Bengal had notified the core tiger habitats.
Though the tiger habitats have been declared for Parambikulam and Periyar, there will be no relocation of villages or tribal hamlets, forest officials say.
According to sources, there are 36 tigers in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
The tiger density of the reserve ranges between high and medium as five tigers were identified in 89 sq km in a recent study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India.
According to the guidelines laid down by the Institute, there should be seven tigers in 110 sq km for an area to be considered of high tiger density. The final figures regarding the tiger population is expected to be out soon, officials said.
For The Tiger
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