Vijay PinjarkarVijay Pinjarkar, TNN Jun 27, 2011, 12.52am IST
NAGPUR: The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has in-principle agreed to recognise Kawal wildlife sanctuary near Jannaram in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh as the new tiger reserve.
The 892 sq km Kawal forest is located in northern Andhra Pradesh adjoining Chandrapur and Gadchiroli forest areas in Maharashtra. This would become the second tiger reserve in Andhra Pradesh after Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam.
The area was first surveyed jointly by a team comprising Kishor Rithe of Satpuda Foundation, Ashish Fernandez of Sanctuary Asia and Imran and Asif Siddiqui of Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS), Hyderabad in 2003.
The corridor mapping was done from Maharashtra to Andhra Pradesh along with documentation of the wildlife and tiger potential of the area.
HYTICOS, with the help of Nallamalai Foundation, later spent more time on wildlife corridors along the northern boundaries of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The HYTICOS team travelled 1,800 km from Yavatmal to Adilabad, touching Chandrapur border and completed its search at Gadhchiroli border. The Satpuda and Sanctuary teams focused on Maharashtra corridors with Andhra Pradesh.
The proposal was under consideration of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) since then. The sanctuary was under threat from illegal encroachments after Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 came into force. In May 2011, environment minister Jairam Ramesh and a team too had visited Kawal.
If Kawal formally becomes a tiger reserve, one more reserve will be added to the existing reserves in 300 km vicinity from tiger capital Nagpur. It will include Kanha, Tadoba-Andhari, Pench (MP), Pench, Indravati, Melghat and Satpura-Bori. The MoEF has already agreed to declare Bor and Nagzira-Navegaon as tiger reserves.
"Kawal will help reduce man-animal conflict in Chandrapur-Gadchiroli districts as our spill-over tiger population will find place in Kawal," stated Kishor Rithe, president of Satpuda Foundation and member of National Board for Wild Life (NBWL).