Foresters initiate steps to help increase tiger population in NSTR

Vijayawada: The Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve has been witnessing a rise in tiger population year-on-year. The 2023-24 period has seen its population rise to 80 from 73 the previous fiscal. Foresters are expecting a further rise in tiger population in 2024-25.

Some of the reasons attributed to the increase in tiger population are the series of new steps for protection of forests, intense patrolling in addition to the carrying out of regular mobile patrolling and efforts at habitat improvement.

The forest authorities maintain that protection of forests is very important to help the tiger population grow by ensuring that there is no disturbance to tiger habitats in the form of wildfires and other anti-social activities.

With regard to habitat improvement, the authorities say that they are clearing the forests from weeds and ensuring proper growth of vegetation so that it will attract a large number of herbivores. “This will serve as a feed to the carnivores in addition to ensure availability of water even by arranging water holes in places where natural water bodies are not available.”

They say that if the tigers fail to get adequate availability of prey population, they may stray into human habitations in search of food in the fringe villages of the forests, resulting in a human-tiger conflict.

Intense patrolling in the forests and regular mobile patrolling help curb activities like poaching of tigers and help protect its population. Though there are no recent cases of poaching in the NSTR, the forest authorities keep a close watch on the tiger habitats in the forests. This is helping secure area, which in turn contributes to a growth in tiger population.

The foresters are using camera traps as the popular mode of assessing the tiger population in the forests apart from other methods. Based on such data, the foresters have arrived at the count of tigers in the NSTR.

The Markapur Project Tiger's deputy director Vignesh Appaevu said, “We are expecting the tiger population in NSTR to rise further in 2024-25. We have initiated several measures like protection and habitat improvement to the tigers.”

Meanwhile, the forest authorities have identified the need to maintain functionality of the Nagarjunasagar-Sri Venkateswara National Park corridor “as the tigers will naturally disperse to recolonize” at the Sri Venkateswara National Park.

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