UTNOOR: It seems like the presence of tigers in forests may help contain smuggling of wood and also protect forests in old Adilabad district where wood smuggling is rampant despite the numerous efforts put in by forest officials.
It is believed that migration of tigers into the district from Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve and Tippeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is like a double-edge sword-it can propel tiger conservation and also control wood smuggling.
The experiences of Tadoba Andhari and Tippeshwar Tiger Reserves are cases in point. According to sources, there are nearly 20 tigers in the latter and around 48 in Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve.
The involvement of forest staff and the nexus between wood smugglers and local political leaders have exposed on umpteen occasions. Three Manc-herial forest staff were recently suspended for their tacit support to teak wood smugglers in Jannram area.
Some political leaders, who have since become MLAs, MPs and ministers, were involved in smuggling of wood and had amassed a fortune from the clandestine operations. Adilabad One-Town police arrested Deputy Forest Range Officer Mr Praveen Mahajan for his involvement in smuggling of teak logs worth `30 lakh in Adilabad town in July, 2018. Subsequently, police arrested wood smuggler Ganganna and S.K Mohisin, brother of TRS town president Sajidoddin.
Adilabad police raided the secluded area near the now defunct Cement Corporation of India (CCI) branch and seized leak logs loaded in 16 vehicles that were heading for Maharashtra. It seems that forest department is pinning hopes on the presence of tigers putting fear on smugglers and poachers.
S. Venugopal, Forest Range officer, Pench-ikalpet said that he favoured co-existence of humans and animals, unlike many modern conservationists.
He observed that finally, it is the locals, who conserve and protect forests, animals and birds with perseverance.
Venugopal said “The tigers will protect the forests if people protect them.” It is a fact that tigers are migrating to Kagaznagar forest division located on the state borders due to the high density in Thadoba Tigers Reserve. It is ditto with long-billed vultures from Kamalapur bordering Maharashtra.
The question doing the rounds is how Telangana can secure both tigers and the rare long-billed vultures and what measures are needed to achieve it.
Hope in the air
There is a distinct possibility that Kagaznagar forest division will become a permanent habitat for tigers in the not too distant future.
The forest department is utilising the services of the once-active but presently reformed poachers. Hiring them on a contract basis is yielding positive results in that poaching activity has been dramatically reduced. Poachers have become animal trackers and watchers.
There is a shortage of prey-base in Penchikalpet and because of which the migrated tigers are going back to their original habitat in the state of Maharashtra....