Kawal, one of two tiger reserves in the state, has only one tiger as per the latest estimates. By Arrangement.
Hyderabad: Wildlife activists have stressed on the need for better protection of tiger corridors adjoining Kawal Tiger Reserve in Asifabad district by declaring it a satellite core of the reserve.
While some tigers have been found to reside and breed in these forests, those ‘migrating’ from Maharashtra also use them to reach Kawal. However, these important forests are facing many pressures.
Kawal, one of two tiger reserves in the state, has only one tiger as per the latest estimates. The tiger corridors adjoining the reserve in Komaram—Bheem—Asifabad and Mancherial districts reportedly have about eight tigers. Yet, these corridors have not been accorded the same amount of protection that Kawal has.
The forest department had proposed to declare the corridors as a satellite core to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2020.
The reserve’s field director C.P. Vinod Kumar said the preparation of a draft notification for the same was still under process. "It will take time, because we have to survey the area, find probable locations of tiger movement. We are carrying out these studies," he said.
The department will also have to map the area, identify the threats it faces, and relocate villagers residing within the area besides getting political representatives on board. "There will be issues once the draft notification is issued," Kumar said.
Founder of Forests and Wildlife Protection Society (FAWPS) Mirza Karim Baig said the corridors were a crucial habitat as well as passage for tigers. In 2016, a tigress had given birth to four cubs here, while another did so two years later, he said.
"This is a highly exploited zone, where human interference, cattle grazing and encroachments occur. If this area is declared a satellite core of Kawal or a separate wildlife sanctuary, this would prove beneficial to Kawal also," he added.
A 2017 proposal
Founder of Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS) Imran Siddiqui said the move was first proposed by the Telangana State Board for Wildlife in 2017, and the next year by NTCA, before it was shelved.
"The area is not in shape to host many tigers as the prey base has to be increased. The corridors currently don’t get enough funding. So, if it is declared a satellite core, funding will pour in from various sources. It will also provide a livelihood to the locals," Siddiqui said.