`Need to remove curbs on tiger visits to Nepal'
TNN 9 November 2009, 05:01am IST
LUCKNOW: Tigers know no boundaries. They keep crossing over from one forest to another along the Indo-Nepal border. The movement of tigers along the border is must if the existing population is to be saved from in-breeding.
Initially, it used to be a contiguous forest along Indo-Nepal border and animals could move freely and safely. But now the connectivity between forests on the two sides is merely through three corridors -- Khata, Laljhaadi and Basanta. "These corridors are prone to encroachment on Nepal side," said Bivash Pandav, from WWF-international, working for wildlife conservation in Nepal.
Nepal has Bardia National Park, Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve. The total population counting all these four protected areas of Nepal is about 120 tigers. There is a lot of movement of tigers between Bardia and Katarniaghat.
But what used to be a free movement about 35 years back for tigers along the border is now not an easy one. India can always voice its concern to Nepal in the trans-boundary meeting between the two. Protected areas on the Indian side of the border -- Dudhwa, Katarniaghat, Kishenpur and Pilibhit are believed to be housing 109 tigers (as per February, 2008, census).
Several experts and conservationists discussed the core issues related to tiger conservation on Sunday in a seminar. The declining prey base in forests and increasing biotic pressure on them is a growing concern. "Forest department should first identify and acknowledge that wildlife has a problem and then only can a solution be worked out," said G C Mishra, former director, Dudhwa.
The existence of Mailani-Gonda rail track that runs about 60 km through the protected area was also discussed. Train hits have killed quite a noticeable number of animals within Dudhwa. Removal of the track has been discussed on earlier occasions between railways and forest department. Railways agree that it is not a commercially profitable operation to run trains on the said track.
The senior forest officials were also present on the occasion. "There has to be a holistic effort towards conservation of tigers and wildlife," said B K Patnaik, chief wildlife warden, UP. On mitigating man-animal conflict, he said that mobile rapid response units will be established to check it.
Others who spoke in the seminar organised by Katarniaghat Foundation were Pankaj Agarwal, principal secretary, Transport, Mohd Ahsan, additional PCCF, UP, K K Singh, DFO, north Kheri, V P Singh of Terai Nature Conservation Society, R L Singh, ex PCCF, UP and other members of the Foundation.