RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh’s performance on tiger conservation management has been miserable as the big cat population has dwindled by 59% since 2014, revealed the official findings.
The state forest department didn’t hesitate to admit that the situation is really depressing.
The state lagged behind other states in effectively implementing the management framework for tiger conservation.
The state, which initially had 26 tigers in 2006 touched the figure of 46 in 2014 but plummeted to 19 tigers in 2018 -- a decline of 59 per cent.
Interestingly the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh, which is rightly referred to as tiger state of India, had 308 tigers in 2014 and has risen to 526 in 2018.
Chhattisgarh, which has 3 tiger reserves, was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in November 2000.
The Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) process, was first initiated in 2006, now being done every fourth year, was conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) ministry of environment forest and climate change.
Four cycles of assessment have been done.
In 2006, there were 28 tiger reserves which rose to 50 in 2018 in the country.
Going by the extensive assessment report clubbing all 50 tiger reserves, the Chhattisgarh state has been cited as the least performing state.
The mean percentage derived out of MEE score of 4 cycles (of four years each) from 2006-2018 in tiger reserve management in Chhattisgarh was 45.62 percentage.
Kerala having 2 tiger reserves has been judged as the best state on performance scale with 82 per cent followed by Madhya Pradesh with 6 tiger reserves scoring 80.25 % in the state-wise comparison of MEE Tiger Reserve cycles.
“It’s really disheartening indeed. We believe there are lack of dedicated efforts among the staff, lack of monitoring and effective control. The element of fear has also vanished, so we ended up with such discouraging figures on tigers in Chhattisgarh”, the principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Atul Shukla said.
Poaching at work
A wildlife enthusiast Nitin Singhvi shared, “According to the wild animal anti-poaching database after 2010 over 20 hides of tigers were recovered, suggesting poaching as one of the major reasons behind a major decline of tiger population”.
PCCF told that the department has begun damage control exercise and strict instruction being issued from the top to the grass-root level to ensure there is no dereliction of one’s duties.
“Those found reckless will face the music”, the PCCF averred.
Among the reasons and constraints that MEE cited include inadequate trained manpower, biotic interference in core and buffer areas, issues of connectivity and corridors, relocation of villagers, poor infrastructure and communication, no effective monitoring and timely management actions.
“The officers are not in accordance with the sanctioned strength, they lack appropriate training on wildlife management and some shortage of funds”, the MEE further highlighted the reasons behind various limitations.