Dudhwa rated second best tiger reserve in country
14 Jul 2008, 0638 hrs IST, Neha Shukla,TNN
LUCKNOW: Dudhwa is one of the best managed tiger reserves in the country. The latest assessment by Project Tiger has placed the reserve on second spot, after Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. The assessment report assigned ratings to all the 28 tiger reserves in the country for management effectiveness. While Kanha topped the chart with 166 points, Dudhwa came second with 154 points and Corbett came a close third with 152 points.
The parameters on which the reserves were assessed for management effectiveness were drawn from the world commission on protected areas (IUCN) framework and adapted to Indian context. The reserves were assigned higher scores for relative absence of biotic pressures, gregarious woodland advancement, poaching incidents, fire incidents and epidemics.
The final scores in the report show eight tiger reserves as very good, eleven as good, seven as satisfactory and two (Indravati and Sariska) as poor. Dudhwa has been rated very good. Spread over an area of 884 sq km, the reserve area has been shown rich in flora and fauna. Apart from tiger, leopard, swamp deer, rhinoceros, cheetal, hog deer, barking deer, sambar, wild pig and ratel, it is also said to have at least 400 species of birds and 90 species of fish.
"This when the reserve manages to get on an average a crore from the Central government every year and almost nothing from the state government," said sources in the forest department. The number of tiger sightings is second highest in Dudhwa after Bandhavgarh, sources added.
Project Tiger might have placed it on the second position, but three mortalities that were reported from the reserve this year and the increasing incidents of man-animal conflict might contest the new-found position of Dudhwa tiger reserve.
"Dudhwa does not face problems which are existing in other reserves like breeding of exotic species," said VP Singh, a naturalist. The experts and also officials from the department feel that had it not been for sensitive location of Dudhwa, incidents of poaching might have been less. Besides, Dudhwa is a mosaic of grasslands and water bodies and this makes patrolling difficult in the region.
"The incidents of poaching could be high because of its proximity to the international border," said Sameer Sinha, president, Traffic India. Dudhwa’s security involves trans-boundary issues and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which is working with UP forest department and will organise a meeting next week in Lucknow to ponder over the same.
The evaluation report, however, has also mentioned about the problems ailing the tiger reserves. Things like inadequate equipments and vehicles, insurgency in some of them like Palamau, Indravati and Manas, loss of connectivity and habitat fragmentation, unsustainable pilgrimage inside some of them, late release of Central assistance from states to reserves and inability of some states to provide matching grants have been discussed therein.
The reserves were also assessed for dual control of buffer zones by reserves and territorial divisions, encroachments, livestock grazing, unregulated non-timber forest produce collection, forest fires, poaching, uncontrolled tourism, reduced manpower and increased average age of staff.
Reserves were rated better for activities like implementation of management plans devised by project tiger, organising anti-poaching camps, efficient networking with police, district administration and other agencies.