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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Maharashtra: TATR authorities to use 104 acres of land owned by farmers for wildlife management

The idea of nature conservancy has been borrowed from Africa where farmers are roped in to encourage wildlife conservation and tourism on their lands.

Written by Vivek Deshpande | Nagpur |
Updated: July 30, 2021 8:49:17 pm
At Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (Express Photo)

In a first, the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district has entered into a pact with four farmers to initiate a ‘nature conservancy’ project.

The farmers — Nannaware brothers from Mudholi village — will get Rs 5,000 per year per acre for not doing any cultivation on a total of 104 acres of land. This will facilitate implementation of wildlife management measures by the TATR administration in this area.

The area also includes the famous natural water hole of Bulukdev.

TATR Field Director Jitendra Ramgaokar told The Indian Express, “This is probably the first such project in the country where the Forest Department will be doing wildlife management on a privately-owned land. We have entered into an agreement with four farmers, who together own the 104 acres where we would be implementing what is known as nature conservancy. The farmers will get Rs 5,000 per acre per year for not cultivating the land.”

Ramgaokar added, “This land is a very crucial area near Mudholi village that lies between the TART core and the Irai dam on Irai river on the western side of TATR. It is from this patch that many tigers are known to disperse. Due to its private ownership, we could do little for tiger conservation in that area. So, we proposed the idea to these farmers, who agreed, paving the way for the project.”

He added, “Funds for the project will come from the TATR’s Tiger Foundation.”

The field director also said that in the future, TATR will look for resort owners to run eco-tourism projects in the area “so the partner farmers will also get some additional income.”

The idea of nature conservancy has been borrowed from Africa where farmers are roped in to encourage wildlife conservation and tourism on their lands.

A similar project is already underway at Gothangaon village near Umred-Paoni-Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary in Nagpur district, where a private resort is implementing it, unlike the project in TATR, where it is being handled by the Forest Department.

Wildlife managers support the idea of nature conservancy as they are able to manage crucial areas that serve as dispersal corridors for wildlife. Since most such corridors lie in human-dominated landscapes, dispersing tigers and other animals move through these areas without any protection, often falling prey to poaching.

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