Manas buffer zone worries tiger experts
A STAFF REPORTER
Guwahati, Oct. 14: The team of experts from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has pointed out to the state forest department that the buffer area of Manas tiger reserve is not under the control of the management.
The team of the NTCA, which visited the tiger reserve recently, held talks with the authorities on various ways to improve the management of the reserve and laid stress on tiger monitoring.
The total area of Manas tiger reserve is 2,837 square km, of which 500 square km is the core area and the rest is buffer zone that is not under the control of the management.
The team discussed the issue with the chief wildlife warden of Assam and BTC authorities.
“This means that there are no wildlife management activities at the buffer zone where encroachment and all types of illegal activities take place,” a forest official said.
The core area is critical and inviolate, while the buffer area is the peripheral area to foster co-existence with the local people for safeguarding the integrity of the core.
In case of severe habitat depletion in the buffer zone, the source population would get targeted and eventually face extinction.
According to the latest guidelines of the Tiger Conservation Plan, the buffer zone should be notified as required under the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006, and placed under the unified control of the field director of the tiger reserve.
The role of deputy director (buffer zone) of a tiger reserve is to carry out implementation of inputs from other departments like forestry, joint forest management and eco-development, while ensuring co-ordination with other sectors.
The guidelines said the buffer zone management should address threats to wildlife conservation emanating from regional developmental activities such as forest concessions, industrial pollution, highway development, extensive high value farming or ecologically unsustainable and intensive land uses like mining.
The NTCA team has also asked the tiger reserve authorities to give importance to recording of all sorts of evidence.
“Though the reserve has the system of monitoring, it has not been put into practice,” a source said.
Equal importance should also be given to recording indirect evidence by the park staff and bring it to the attention of the authorities, the source added. It should be recorded on a proper format.
The Manas tiger reserve authorities said they were trying their best to address the situation by taking steps to improve the habitat.
The tiger reserve was brought under the Project Tiger in 1973 and is one of the earliest under the scheme.