Rajahmundry: The state government is developing a tiger corridor involving six southern districts from Guntur to Chittoor to expand its habitat from the present 3,500 sqkm to about 10,000 sqkm having geographical contiguity, with an expectation to enhance its tiger population from the present 50 to 100 or 150 in the next 10 to 20 years in the state. India’s largest tiger reserve, the Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSSTR), is located in Kurnool, Prakasam, Guntur, Nellore, Chittoor and Kadapa and it will accommodate the tiger corridor.
At present, Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve has 41 adult tigers and a few cubs, as per the tiger census carried out in 2016, and a few more big cats found elsewhere.
The forest authorities have been receiving reports about either sighting of tigers or finding their pug marks from several places like Sri Lankamalleswara Wildlife Sanctuary in Kadapa, Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve located in Seshachalam hill ranges, which are a part of Eastern Ghats in Chittoor, Sri Venkateswara National Park in Tirupati and at other places covering the long stretch of Seshachalam and Nallamala forest cover.
The Forest authorities said two tigers were sighted at Sri Lankamaleswara Wildlife Sanctuary and their habitat is stable. Tigers used to be sighted in Tirupati forest area some 35 years ago and at present there are no sighting, except for some hints of finding some pug marks, subject to confirmation, whether they belonged to tiger or some other carnivore like leopard.
The Forest authorities said tiger is a territorial animal and the male tiger establishes its own territory, and the location and size of its territory depends upon the availability of prey.
Once a new territory is found, the tiger starts breeding and establishes its own family. For this reason, the tiger corridor is needed to help the tiger population to rise.
The Forest authorities said narrow stretches of forest cover along the proposed tiger corridor were being identified in order to expand them to facilitate free passage of tigers from one area to another without facing any trouble like poaching.
As the state government takes the forest or reserve forest areas for execution of irrigation projects and others, it is mandatory on its part to compensate it by giving land elsewhere.
Atmakur divisional forest officer (wildlife management) C. Selvam said, “The tiger corridor is being developed mainly in six districts in the state where there is thick cover of forests to help improve tiger habitat, enhance its population and develop good ecosystem.”...