Hyderabad: The conditions for survival of tigers in Telangana’s two tiger reserves, Amrabad and Kawal, are not very conducive.
In a 656-page report ‘Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India’, released in New Delhi on Tuesday by Union minister for forests, environment and climate change, Prakash Javadekar, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has held the Telangana forest department’s feet to the fire saying that much needs to be done in the two tiger reserves for the big cats to live.
As per the 2018 all-India tiger census, the two reserves are home to about 26 tigers but their numbers are believed to have risen by a few in the past two years as the census does not take into account cubs and sub-adults.
With respect to the Amrabad tiger reserve, with a core area of 2,166.37 sq. km and a buffer area of 445.02 sq. km, the report said the reserve was beset by a series of problems. These include livestock grazing, smuggling of timber, hunting and resource extraction by local people. All of these activities make the reserve “vulnerable to habitat degradation and biodiversity extinction,” the report warned.
Even more worrisome, the Wildlife Institute of India report said that though 629 transects, totalling a length of 1,241.60 km, were walked across as part of the census inside the reserve, the number of sightings were too low for prey density to be estimated.
“Removal of human pressures, especially settlements from within the tiger reserve and reduction of livestock are required to improve wildlife and tiger status,” the report said.
With respect to Kawal tiger reserve, the Wildlife Institute of India specifically mentions poaching as a serious problem and in the two forest divisions of Chennur and Kagaznagar where tiger presence was noted in the 2018 census in the erstwhile Adilabad district.
Timber smuggling, encroachment of forest land and poaching, have been persistent problems and past attempts to add deer to the forest by transporting them from deer parks and the Nehru zoo in Hyderabad failed to work as the translocated animals quickly disappeared because of rampant poaching by local people.
In the past couple of years, three tigers, in addition to at least two leopards, have been killed by poachers in the district....