The 17th meeting of State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) has approved the recommendations made by the technical Committee for removal of 5/6 tigers in the premises of Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) and Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) to avoid human-tiger interactions, sightings and possible conflict in the nearby human settlements with certain changes.
The meeting was held at Sahyadri Guest House, Mumbai, under the presidentship of Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister, who is also Chairman of the board, recently. The meeting discussed report submitted by the 11-members technical committee, formed by the board to suggest measures to reduce man-animal conflict.
When contacted, Kishor Rithe, Member of the board, informed to The Live Nagur on Saturday that the members raised some concerns on Zone-1 and Zone-4 recommendations. The Zone-1 area is continuous forest patches with area of co-existence, eco-development and wildlife management while Zone-4 means area like CSTPS and WCL with nearby human settlements, where tiger/tiger breeding be discouraged.
In the previous meeting held in 2018, the board had specifically asked to authorities of the thermal power station and coal mines to clear the weed/shrubs as well vegetation to make it unfriendly habitat for wild animals. This work need to be done in a time bound manner to ensure tigers do not breed there, Rith said adding that so it wont require to translocate the breeding tigers. Moreover, it would also not require shifting the breeding tigers if we made this habitat unfriendly.
Rithe pointed out that if the habitat was destroyed then the wild animals would neglect such area devoid of vegetation. The lease period of the underground, open caste mines and washeries on forest areas/tiger habitats should not be given extension further by the higher authorities in Zone-4. This means translocation of such tigers to zoos/captivity to be thought as last option, he said adding that the technical committee recommendations were approved with these changes.
As for Zone-1, he said as per National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines of Critical Tiger Habitat the minimum inviolate space of 800-1000 sq km should be maintained as the core to support a viable population of tigers in a landscape. The present Crtiical tiger Habitat area of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) is 625 sq km and need to expand it. If we do so, buffer also will have to be renotified by adding adjoining forest areas/villages. So Zone-1 recommendations need to add this, he pointed out.