A recent report points to a cause for major concern with regards to tiger habitat in Maharashtra. The report, a performance audit on the six tiger reserves in Maharashtra during the period between 2011 to 2018, found that the tiger habitats were getting diminishing as a direct result of human activity, most human settlements and tourism facilities. Railway tracks and highways cut across the reserves, eating into the big cat territory, while high-tension wires along the total length of 282 kms passed through the reserves causing death by electrocution to 8 tigers within the period of survey. Unregulated tourism in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve(TATR) was marked as a source of major concern.
While the National Tiger Conservation Authority insists on the phasing out of permanent tourist facilities, rest houses and staff colonies were found in the core area of TATR, as well as a concrete pathway. The Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve(NNTR) on the other hand has a human village in the vicinity of the core area. All these lead to human-animal conflict, endangering life of both man and animal. There were 3494 reported instances of human death and injury between the survey period as a direct result of man-animal conflict in the reserves. The limit of 122 tourist vehicle per day in the TATR were was flouted 93 times during 2011 to 2017, with the excess number of vehicles per day reaching upto 51.
The guidelines for declaration of eco-sensitive zones in the reserves by the Union Environment Ministry was observed only in 3 of the reserves, with the State Board for Wildlife, helmed by the Chief Minister, meeting just once a year during the period of audit. The audit was part of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which was tabled in the State Assembly recently.
The six tiger reserves in the state are the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, the Bor Tiger Reserve, the Melghat Tiger Reserve, the Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve, the Pench Tiger Reserve and the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve.
As reported by India Times
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