The apex body for tiger conservation, NTCA, has found alleged violation of laws in construction of tiger safari in Madhya Pradesh’s Pench national park and expressed fears that it would expose the animal to poaching.
The National Park is famous as home to ‘Mowgli’ — the protagonist in English writer Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has written to the state government saying the ongoing construction of tiger safari inside the national park “is detrimental to tiger dispersal” and “exposes them to poaching.
The Madhya Pradesh forest department has failed to take “prior approval” from the Central Zoo Authority before construction of tiger safari in Pench and Bandhavgarh, it said.
The move assumes significance as many wildlife activists have been objecting to the creation of tiger safari in Pench and in Bandhavgarh national parks claiming it harmful for the big cats.
The state government’s plan to cut over 550 trees in Pench to make way for the tiger safari was also criticised by them.
Existing guidelines allow establishment of tiger safari in buffer area of a national park or a reserve, in order to reduce pressure from core or critical habitat of the wild cats.
“The ongoing construction of the tiger safari in Pench, in violation of various rules and regulation, is detrimental to tiger dispersal which has altered their land tenure dynamics, resulting in tiger dispersal in human dominated landscapes which exposes them to poaching events.
“A similar case may arise with the proposed safari at Bandhavgarh tiger reserve,” the NTCA said in a letter to Chief Wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh.