The state forest department on Tuesday declared 29.53 sqkm area of Dodamarg forest range in Sindhudurg district as ‘Tillari Conservation Reserve’. The area covering nine villages in the forest range is known to serve as a corridor and even as a habitat for the population of tigers and elephants moving between the three states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The 38-km-long Dodamarg wildlife corridor that connects Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra to Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka frequently witnesses elephant and tiger movement.
Tillari will be the seventh corridor in the state to be declared as a ‘conservation reserve’. Conservation reserve denotes protected areas which typically act as buffer zones to or connectors and migration corridors between established national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserved and protected forests. Such areas are designated as conservation areas if they are uninhabited and completely owned by the Government of India but used for subsistence by communities if part of the lands are privately owned.
Girish Punjabi, a wildlife biologist at Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) who is working in the Tillari region, said between 2014 and 2019, seven tigers have been identified in the region. “The land in Tillari which was under the forest department was a reserve forest which basically is less protected. Being declared as a conservation reserve is a step in the right direction and gives it some level of protection from development projects. Tillari area abuts the Mhadei (Goa) and Bhimgad (Karnataka) wildlife sanctuaries. The area is not only a corridor for tiger movement between these sanctuaries but also a habitat,” he said.
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