48 tigers in non-protected Chandrapur forest areas
Chandrapur: As many as 48 tigers have been found to be inhabiting outside the protected areas in forests of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra, taking the total number of such animals to 120 in the zone which is home to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR)
The tiger estimation study in non-protected areas (PAs) of territorial forests and areas under Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) was conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) over last four months.
As per the survey, the number of big cats in the district stands at 120, including 60 in core area and 12 in buffer area of TATR.
“It is the first-of-its-kind study in the country carried out in a vast 2000 sq kms of territorial forest area outside the protected area (PA). It’s equally interesting to note that the tiger density in some blocks in these areas was found to be higher than that of some tiger reserves,” WCT president Anish Andhariya said yesterday.
He said the tiger density in Kanhalgaon–Central Chanda Block was found to be 2.34, which is more than that of Melghat Tiger Reserve in the state.
Similarly, tiger density in Junona-Central Chanda block was found to be 1.77, which is higher than that of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, Andhariya added.
Chief Conservator of Forests (Chandrapur Circle), Sanjay Thakre said the survey was sponsored by Chandrapur Forest department.
“We did not have the necessary expertise and equipment needed for the survey and hence we sought help from WCT for the purpose,” he said, adding that the new findings are quite encouraging.
Elaborating on the findings, a WCT team member Aditya Joshi said they started with “xyz-detection method” of tiger occupancy in the assigned areas.
“DNA identification through scat collection helped us to identify the movement of tigers in Greater Tadoba Landscape (non PA areas outside TATR). The 2000 sq km of forest area outside PA was divided into six blocks according to occupancy of tigers and other large carnivores,” he said.