Maharashtra got its sixth tiger reserve Tuesday with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) approving the state’s proposal to notify Bor Wildlife Sanctuary in Wardha district as a tiger reserve. Bor becomes the sixth tiger reserve in Maharashtra after Tadoba, Melghat, Pench, Nagzira and Sahyadri, and the 47th in the country.
Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Environment, Forests & Climate Change, and Chairperson of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, declared the 13,812-hectare area of Bor Sanctuary, New Bor Sanctuary and New Bor Extended Wildlife Sanctuary as a core, critical tiger habitat. The sanctuary, an important corridor between Tadoba-Andhari and Pench Tiger Reserves, lies on the boundary of Nagpur and Wardha districts.
As per estimates, there are around six to eight tigers in Bor and New Bor areas. MoEF’s guidelines for the process of deciding critical tiger habitat in tiger reserves state say: “A minimum inviolate space of 800-1000 sq km should be maintained as the inviolate area to support a viable population of tiger in tiger landscapes, based on tiger life history parameters, territory sizes and populations viability analysis.” However, the Bor tiger reserve admeasures just 138.1214 sq km and is one of the smallest tiger reserves in the country.
“Bor, with Pench tiger reserve to its north and Tadoba to its south, is an important part of the tiger corridor and will provide good connectivity to the tiger populations. This new reserve will help in crucial genetic exchange between the two tiger populations. This must have been the logic behind notifying Bor as a tiger reserve though it does not meet the guidelines in terms of space. We also have to work with whatever land is available, but this is a great move for the tiger population in the state,” said Dr Y Jhala, senior professor, Wildlife Institute of India.
The Indian Express had in February reported that the state wildlife board had decided to make the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary a tiger reserve, increasing the tiger habitat by 530 sq km.
With Project Tiger coverage, the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary notified by the state in 1970 would now receive funding and technical support to strengthen tiger conservation and eco-development and to benefit local communities living along the fringes of the reserve.