Save the critical Tiger Corridors to save Tigers before its too late
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The apex wildlife panel of the environment ministry has recommended clearance of over 600 hectares of forest area falling in a critical tiger corridor area for an irrigation canal.
The latest project, ‘Dr B.R. Ambedkar Pranahita Irrigation Canal’ involves diversion of over 600 hectare forest area in the tiger corridor linking Kawal Tiger Reserve in Telangana with the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra and the Indravathi Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh.
It was discussed in a 4 September meeting of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) headed by the environment minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
According to a 2014 estimation, India’s tiger population is 2,226, spread across 50 tiger reserves. These corridors serve an important function of connecting the different reserves so that the movement of the tigers is facilitated and they are not trapped in an island situation which could lead to weak progenies and ultimately dying out of the population.
The report by WII (an autonomous institution under the ministry directed to visit the project site and submit a detailed report) recommended a total of 9 eco-bridges across the canal for facilitating animal passage compared to the earlier suggestion of 18 such bridges by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which is India’s top body for conservation and protection of tigers.
The tiger corridor may become almost non-functional during the construction phase owing to high anthropogenic disturbances and this may halt tiger movement in the area and might escalate conflict with local human communities. As a result retaliatory killings and poaching could rise, threatening further the already endangered tiger population.
Even after the construction phase is over, the passage would be reduced to 9 fixed points which would make it conducive for poaching of the tigers.
Plus this move would accelerate the rate of shrinkage of the green cover of the country which is already critically jeopardised.
The union environment ministry’s wildlife board has already cleared an air-strip in the buffer area of Indravati Tiger Reserve. Hence this forest is further going to be fragmented.
With the human wildlife conflict already on the rise, leading to increase in numbers of human and wild animal lives lost every year, the clearance of 600 ha of natural forest would be a devastating step.
Once development starts in any habitat, it gets permanently altered . This ultimately leads to a break down in ecological processes such as species migration, dispersal, recycling of nutrients
pollination of plants and other natural functions required for ecosystem health.
The likely result is severe biodiversity decline and local extinction of sensitive species
For short term profits, long term irreversible losses are not acceptable. Let’s save this critical corridor before it’s too late Or else we’ll be soon reading about Tigers only in books.
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