Depleting tiger population worries wildlife authorities in Madhya Pradesh
Kanha Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh), Jan.21: The depleting tiger population in Madhya Pradesh has become a matter of serious concern for the wildlife authorities in the State.
The development holds significance considering that Madhya Pradesh is a good habitat for tigers and other big cats.
But the wildlife authorities have noticed that poachers and smugglers often exploit the grinding poverty of people in forest villages here and thus manage to win local villagers' support.
Authorities of Kanha Reserve Park and Wildlife trust of India and Self-Help groups, are concerned over the prevailing condition of tigers in forests here. They claim to be doing enough to prevent what's happening here.
"We have tiger protection force, we have employed ex-army men over here, we have concentrated more security in the buffer areas. In our range, there are 29 villages that come under buffer zone and 26 villages that come under the core zone. We are working on the eco-development of these villages," said R. P. Singh, Director, Kanha Tiger Reserve.
The purpose of all these efforts is to develop good harmonious relationship between men and animals and eliminate all possibilities of man-animal conflict.
Despite the local authorities trying to make villagers aware and drafting them as informants, the measures have not been able to meet their expected results.
"One could see a lot of tigers over here. But in the past few years the total number has gone down. A few days back a tiger skeleton was found from this area. Previously, also the skin of a tigress and hair and flesh of her dead cub were found from the nearby area. I feel that these electric wires should also be made underground, because if ever these wires fall, that will eventually electrocute many animals," said Ram Prasad, a villager.
Meanwhile, the self-help groups want the government to enact tougher laws and implement them rigorously to discourage poaching.
"They all (poachers) should be arrested then only we can curtail the roots of their illicit business (of trading in tiger skins and bones). Until the government doesn't come up with some serious rules and regulations, till then we can't stop them (poachers). And the laws of government should be implemented strictly," said M K Rajiv Singh, Chairman of Wild Life Trust of India.
There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago.
A government report on tiger census, published this year, states that the tiger population has fallen to 1,411, down from 3,642 in 2002, largely due to dwindling habitat and poaching.
In 2006, a special panel set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed that housands of poor villagers inside India's tiger reserves would have to be relocated to protect the endangered animals from poachers and smugglers.
Some experts have put the number at around 300,000.