An 11-member technical study group constituted by the State Board for Wildlife (SBWL) has recommended the removal of tigers from Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) and Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS), which are home to five to six tigers. have taken.
“These tigers should not be released in the wild. They should be shifted to zoos or tiger safaris. Tiger breeding should not be allowed in this area and should be conducted through active collaboration with CSTPS, WCL and other relevant industry authorities,” the SWBL has recommended.
In the past five years, at least six tigers have been documented as making the CSTPS their permanent home. Tigers have been observed to continuously exist and breed in these areas, leading to a large number of human-tiger interactions and sightings.
At least 10,000 people – employees and their families – work and live in the power station area. The CSTPS is connected to the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) through a corridor of coal mines that are dense with Prosopis plant species and provide hiding places for tigers. The area also provides a hunting base—cattle and wild boar—a dense tree cover and a creek that meets the basic needs of the tiger population.
Chandrapur district is home to over 200 individual tigers, a large proportion of which reside outside protected areas (forests) in human-dominated landscapes in the regional forest divisions of Brahmapuri, Chandrapur and Madhya Chanda.
Due to the close proximity of tigers and humans, Chandrapur district has become a virtual hotspot for man-tiger conflict in the country. The 11-member committee was constituted during the 15th SBWL meeting held on 7 August 2020 to suggest a plan to reduce the man-tiger conflict in the district.
The suggestions of the committee were approved in the meeting of SBWL on Tuesday.
Tiger populations from TATR have been observed in power plant areas before. However, in the last five to six years, these areas have become habitat for some due to shrinking forests, experts said.
The committee has also recommended the preparation of a separate wildlife management plan for the Gadchiroli forests to improve the wildlife habitat and increase the hunting population. “At present, the naturally dispersed tigers are not able to settle in this area despite the presence of good forest cover,” the committee said.
The report broadly divides the tiger-prone areas of Chandrapur district into four zones and suggests separate measures for each area for management purposes. Zone-I consists of contiguous forest areas with areas of coexistence, eco-development and wildlife management. Zone-II is classified as degraded and small forest patch for safe passage for non-breeding tigers and there is no habitat enrichment. Zone-III consists of small patches, which are connected with villages where tiger density is low. Zone-IV has areas like WCL and CSTPS where the presence of tigers is to be discouraged.
The committee has also suggested conservation transfers on a case-by-case basis. For example, where young tigers that inhabit small forested areas disperse into villages, and where tiger density and human-tiger interactions are low, but harvests are high, they may be found in landscapes or other tiger habitats in central India. -Can be transferred to eligible destinations. radio caller.
The committee has suggested that the process of conservation of transfer of some breeding females from marginal areas of Chandrapur district to potential habitats should be initiated. Principal Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sunil Limaye confirmed that these tigers will not be shifted to the Sahyadris and will only be relocated to the similar/central Indian landscape.
A total of 9,442 conflict incidents were reported from the Vidarbha region from 2005 to March 2020. Of these, incidents of human-tiger conflict made up about 58 percent of the total incidents.
Incidents in Vidarbha peaked between 2015 and 2018. The total number of attacks on humans due to tigers (232) also peaked between 2017 and 2019.
The panel has recommended enhancement of compensation and said an advance of Rs 25,000 should be paid to the family in case of grievous injury caused by the attack. In case of permanent disability, the compensation should be increased to Rs 7.5 lakh and should be commensurate with 50 per cent of the human death amount. At present it is Rs 5 lakh.