Will Walker lastly keep put? Reply key to tiger roadmap

Written by Vivek Deshpande
| Nagpur |

November 17, 2020 4:50:15 am

Officers level to 2 forest stretches that may present a bigger space for a tiger inhabitants to maneuver about: the 74-sq km Katepurna Sanctuary in Akola and the 18-sq km Karanja Sohol Sanctuary in Washim.

In March, a radio-collared tiger in India grabbed international consideration by traversing a circuitous forest route from Yavatmal in Maharashtra by Telangana earlier than re-entering the state to lastly calm down in Buldana — an estimated distance of three,000 km lined in 9 months.

They referred to as him Walker.

At this time, Walker, now over three years outdated, is on the centre of a conservation problem to seek out whether or not establishing corridors from one “island-like forest” to a different is the answer to accommodate the nation’s rising tiger inhabitants.

ALSO READ | Spotlight on Walker, Dnyanganga poses conservation challenge

For now, officers say, Walker “appears to be doing simply wonderful”, killing wild boars and blue bulls contained in the 205-sq-km Dnyanganga sanctuary. However given its solitary life, they are saying, it should quickly be time to discover a mate.

Already, a authorities committee headed by Srinivas Reddy, the sector director of Melghat Tiger Reserve who additionally supervises Dnyanganga, has advisable {that a} feminine tiger be translocated. However consultants warn that “the problem is far greater than that”.

“Dnyanganga is like an island. Except it has some connectivity to different tiger-bearing areas like Melghat in Amravati district and Muktai Bhavani in Jalgaon district, it makes little sense to facilitate the expansion of Walker’s progeny in Dnyanganga. The place do they go and the way can we guarantee their genetic plurality?” says Nitin Kakodkar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Maharashtra.

Dnyanganga, he reiterates, must be developed into an everyday tiger-sustaining space by creating corridors to attach with different such places. “We have to first facilitate connectivity earlier than letting Walker’s tribe develop,” says Kakodkar.

Officers level to 2 forest stretches that may present a bigger space for a tiger inhabitants to maneuver about: the 74-sq km Katepurna Sanctuary in Akola and the 18-sq km Karanja Sohol Sanctuary in Washim.

“However Katepurna is a degraded, thorny forest, and Karanja Sohol a grassland. They received’t be perfect for tigers. I believed Walker may stroll within the route of Melghat or Muktai Bhavani in the hunt for a feminine since that space does have some tigers. Nevertheless it has to this point not gone that facet. I hope it goes there this winter, which is meant to be a breeding season,” says Kakodkar.

Officers say Walker’s subsequent step is a vital check to create house for a rising inhabitants. From 2,226 in 2014, India’s tiger numbers grew 33 per cent to 2,967 in 2019, based on

the all-India tiger census carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

“For a tiger, the highest priorities are having its personal house and adequate meals. Walker turned secure solely after getting house and meals. Offering a feminine is the simple possibility — we will try this —however for long-term conservation, we have to guarantee correct channels for tigers to maneuver out and in of Dnyanganga. That’s a tedious and difficult proposition. So we have now to be very positive about what we’re prioritising, and the way,” says Bilal Habib, a senior scientist at WII.

Habib had radio-collared Walker in Tipeshwar, the place the tiger was merely generally known as TWLS T1C1, or Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary cub C1 born to tigress T1, earlier than it left in June 2019.

Again in Buldana, in the meantime, there are calls for to protect Dnyanganga as a tiger space to facilitate tourism. Shiv Sena MP Prataprao Jadhav has prompt a 10-km elevated hall between two villages to exchange the 50-km Khamgaon-Buldana highway slicing by the sanctuary. There are additionally plans to relocate the one village contained in the sanctuary.

Kakodkar says it’s for the federal government to resolve if it may possibly construct such a protracted elevated hall. “There are two various routes already obtainable for highway site visitors. However folks should be satisfied to take the detour that’s about 25 km longer,” he says.

One thing needs to be completed quickly, says Nitin Desai, director, central India, Wildlife Safety Society of India. “In any other case, Walker’s epic journey would find yourself as a footnote in India’s tiger conservation success story,” he says.

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