Panaji, Feb 11: A National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) report has recommended upgradation of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary (MWS) to a tiger reserve and observed that the protected area could become a death-trap if not managed properly.
The report authored by Assistant Inspector General of Forests Rajendra Garawad has also advised the government to take immediate steps for enhancing legal status of the sanctuary. "In view of the unfortunate death of tigers, the state government may take immediate steps for enhancing the legal status of 'Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary' to that of a tiger reserve. Declaring the sanctuary as Tiger Reserve will provide much needed access to technical, financial and monitoring support from NTCA for safeguarding the conservation values of the sanctuary," the report said.
The step would empower local communities residing inside sanctuary by giving access to development opportunities as they would be able to utilize the voluntary resettlement scheme for joining the mainstream society, the report said. The report has mentioned that according to wildlife activists, who wished to remain anonymous, presence of tigers inside the sanctuary was a well known and documented fact and no sincere and serious step had been taken for conservation and protection of tigers.
The state might become a death trap for tigers dispersing if the protected areas were not upgraded to legal status of tiger reserve and there was no strong protection regime in place, the report observed. Setting up anti-poaching camps (until the area is declared as a Tiger Reserve), delineation of sanctuary boundary, systematic survey of boundaries of the sanctuary, setting up of a state level task force for management of protected areas and developing an informer network were the other recommendations in the report. After the unfortunate incident of poisoning of four tigers in January this year, a committee constituted by the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests (MoEF) prepared the report. (UNI)