New home for Pilibhit tigers on course
15 Apr 2009, 0156 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN
LUCKNOW: Pilibhit tigers could get the foundation (read financial allocation) laid for their protected area in June. The new reserve planned at Pilibhit has seen things move fast after the department's not-so-good experience with the stray tigers from the region. The department had to shoot a young tigress from Pilibhit last month after it became a trouble.
National Tiger Conservation Authority which made no bones about its displeasure over the slow processing of Pilibhit tiger reserve feels the project is making some serious strides now. Things will move faster if state forest department submits the complete plan before June.
"Things like release of funds to the reserve can be looked into when NTCA meets in June,'' said Rajesh Gopal, member secretary, NTCA. All this could happen if department submits a complete plan before June so that it could be discussed in the meeting.
NTCA has already received the plan for the buffer area. The final plan for core area of the reserve is still awaited. The officials from Pilibhit said they had submitted the plan to the headquarters.
"We have kept very less area as a buffer zone,'' shared Dharam Singh Yadav, DFO, Pilibhit. The effort is more to bring all the five ranges under a consolidated patch. The five ranges of Pilibhit viz Barahi, Mala, Deoria, Mahof and Haripur are scattered patches as of now. "One of the ranges has rare tiger sighting but still we wish to bring it under the reserve,'' said Yadav.
The management plan is about unifying them into a big forest area through afforestation and conservation of the existing forest resources. This necessitates that lesser area be marked as a buffer zone. The plan broadly marks only 25 to 30 percent of area for buffer zone. The major portion would be a core area that does not allow human interference and accords maximum protection to big cats. The reserve will have 72,000 square metre area under it.
The proposal on Pilibhit reserve is proceeding slowly after it bagged an in-principle approval from NTCA in September 2008. The reserve has been planned to save the source populations of tigers in forest patches which are not under the protected area. Pilibhit has good population of tigers but it needs protection. The area has high human intervention and is also susceptible to poaching.
The reserve might bring a crore of rupees as a grant from the centre. Though NTCA added that grant will depend on the demand of the plan. The reserve has entirely been planned on Pilibhit soil with no over-lapping on Dudhwa land.