NTCA Team in Odisha to Decide Tiger Conservation Plans
A two-member team of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), headed by its chief Rajesh Gopal, arrived here on Monday to finalise the Tiger Conservation Plans (TCPs) of State’s two tiger reserves (TR) in Similipal and Satkosia.
Gopal, accompanied by IG of NTCA HS Negi, proceeded to Baripada from where he will head to Similipal Tiger Reserve to take stock of ground situation before the TCPs are assessed. The TCP is a 10-year management plan for a tiger habitat.
The TCPs comprise plans for the core area, buffer zone as well as corridors of the respective tiger reserves. As per the Supreme Court guidelines, the TCP holds significance since it outlines the tiger tourism plans of the TR management.
The State had earlier submitted the TCPs for Similipal and Satkosia but the NTCA had sought certain queries about the plans. “The respective tiger reserves have complied with the queries but Gopal is here to make a ground assessment before finalising the TCPs for the two TRs,” Chief Wildlife Warden SS Srivastava told this paper.
Reliable sources in the Forest and Environment Department said management of the TRs has laid specific importance on the corridor development to keep the tiger population healthy. The NTCA has made the macro plan, whereas the individual TR has prepared the micro plan.
For Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), three corridors have been proposed. Since 1,194 sq km core of STR is connected to Central India tiger landscape, outlining of the corridors will help strengthen the genetic viability of the tiger population by allowing movement of the large cats and preventing scope of inbreeding. While the feline population of Similipal has improved in the last few years, Satkosia, a low-density tiger reserve, is still struggling.
Gopal, sources said, will inspect the micro plan as well as visit the sites. Similarly, relocation of the human habitations from the core areas will also be discussed. In December last year, the STR management relocated 32 families from Upper Barahkamuda and Balnaghar to Asankuda village. Another 61 families had been relocated from Jenabil in 2010.
However, three more villages - Kabataghai, Bakua and Jamuna - inside the notified core areas of STR are yet to be shifted since they are opposing the relocation.
Similarly, Satkosia management is also trying to move human settlements from its core area but has been unsuccessful.
The two-member NTCA team will also review the tiger tourism in the reserves for which the Supreme Court has laid down specific guidelines. Funds flow for the tiger habitats will be governed by the TCPs.