Chhattisgarh’s efforts to get tigers for its Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary from Madhya Pradesh has come to a halt with the latter asking it to get a viability study done before a decision on handing over the big cats could be taken.
Chhattisgarh, where the tiger population is just about 26, has sought a male and two female tigers from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
Madhya Pradesh has lots of tigers and even in some of its reserves the number is higher than their capacity which is leading to straying out of the big cats, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) of Chhattisgarh Ram Prakash said.
“As there is a need to re-introduce tigers in the Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, you are requested to give permission for introduction of a male and two female tigers there.
“After which, we will seek permission from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Delhi,” Ram Prakash said in a letter to his counterpart in Madhya Pradesh.
The Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary, situated about 125 kms from state capital Raipur, in Mahasamund district is spread over 244 square kilometres area. It is one of the favorite tourist spots in the state, but it is losing its sheen due to non-sighting of tigers, the Chattishgarh PCCF said.
In response to the letter, Madhya Pradesh PCCF Narendra Kumar wrote, “Your efforts to reintroduce tigers in Barnawapara Wildlife Sanctuary is quiet encouraging. But my suggestion is that first a population and viability study by the Indian Wildlife Institute (Dehradun) has to be done and on the basis of which NTCA’s permission needs to be taken.”
Only after completion of these, a decision to give tigers from Madhya Pradesh may be taken, Kumar added.
The copy of the letters was received in response to an RTI query filed by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.
“There is a protocol for transfer of tigers from one place to another, Chhattisgarh should also improve its wildlife
infrastructure,” Dubey said.
Six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh – Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Panna, Bori-Satpura, Sanjay Dubri and Pench, have about 257 big cats. According to 2010 data, tiger population in the country is estimated to be 1,706.