HYDERABAD: While Telangana boasts of two tiger reserves, one of which is the second largest in the country, the presence or sighting of big cats has largely been poor. After the Union government has recently declared the country’s tiger population, which stood at 2,226 in 2014 and it could have gone past the 2,500-mark as of today, the state forest department has arrived at a consolidated figure indicating the presence of as many as 15 tigers in its Amarabad Tiger Reserve while it is not sure about the presence of any in the Kawal Tiger Reserve.
Though the camera traps laid at Kawal captured two tigers couple of months ago and four tiger cubs on the periphery of the reserve recently, they are said to be tigers in transit and that tigers are yet to make the reserve forest their home.
Meanwhile, the sighting of these animals for tourists or wildlife enthusiasts like the practice in Tadoba Reserve in Maharashtra or Jim Corbett in Uttarakhand appears not only a distant dream but also next to impossible.
In the case of Amarabad Tiger Reserve (ATR), which is spread across the districts of Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda and is the second-largest reserve in the country, it is the mountainous and unexplored terrain that prevents one from sighting a tiger. On the other hand, the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR), a reserve forest notified as recently as in 2012 and spread across Adilabad district, is relatively new to tiger population.
Officials of Telangana forest department have recently participated in the third Asia ministerial conference on tiger conservation in Delhi and shared their knowledge and expertise in tiger conservation with members of Global Tiger Forum. The forum’s member-countries include Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Thailand. As per the latest figures, India accounts for over 70 per cent of the global population of tigers which have been listed as endangered earlier.
“Our Amarabad Reserve is one of the largest and best-preserved habitats for tiger population in the country. The sighting has been poor. That is largely due to the hilly terrain. Moreover, the purpose of a tiger reserve is conservation of tigers and not facilitating tiger-sighting for tourists,” explained AK Srivastava, principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife.
In the Amarabad Reserve, a tiger safari of 8-10 km is arranged up to Farhabad but it is highly unlikely that one can spot a tiger here.
Srivastava had represented the Telangana forest department at the the third Asian ministerial conference of Global Tiger Forum in Delhi. “We have improved tiger population through habitat improvement by monitoring wildlife, translocation of some villages and successful check on poaching etc. Tigers are an indicator of nature’s well-being and presence of tigers means habitat is intact,” said the PCCF(wildlife).
According to him, the conference was not a platform to deliberate upon tiger conservation measures or share concerns but for knowledge sharing.