'Telangana's Amrabad Tiger Reserve vulnerable to habitat degradation'

  Written by : IANS Updated: Thu, Jul 30, 2020, 11:55 AM
 

Hyderabad, July (IANS) Livestock grazing, smuggling of timber, hunting and resource extraction by the local populace makes Amarabad Tiger Reserve of Telangana vulnerable to habitat degradation and biodiversity extinction, says report 'Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India'.

The 656-page report by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was released in New Delhi on Tuesday by Union Forests, Environment and Climate Change Minister, Prakash Javadekar.

The report called for removal of human pressures, especially settlements, from within the Amarabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) and reduction of livestock to improve wildlife and tiger status.

It noted that there has been no change in the number of tiger individuals captured in 2014 from this former part of Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve.

"629 transects were walked with an effort of 1,241.60 km covering the tiger reserve. Since the number of sightings were too low during these transects, prey density was not estimated," says the report.

According to the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE) Report of 2018, Telangana is home to 26 tigers. This was the first time the number of tigers in Telangana was officially declared after formation of the state. There is no comparison data as in 2014 when previous AITE was done, Telangana was part of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

The forest officials, however, estimated that Telangana in 2014 had 20 tigers - 17 in Amrabad and three in Kawal Tiger Reserve.

The core of ATR covers a total area of 2,166.37 km and has a buffer area of 445.02 km. It has low adult tiger density but the large proportion of young tigers (7) in the population is suggestive of improved status and a rapid growth in the population, says the report.

The report also noted that Kawal Tiger Reserve does not have a resident population of tigers. "Repopulating this reserve with tigers is only possible through restorative management efforts such as reduction of resource extraction, incentivised voluntary relocation of human habitation, and control of poaching."

It pointed out that in the last cycle of AITE 2014, no tigers were photo captured in this reserve. 515 transects were walked with an effort of 1,009 km covering the tiger reserve and as sightings were very low, prey density was not estimated.

The report also called for reducing human pressure in Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh.

"For the health and growth of the tiger population, it is imperative to focus on the prey population and control the anthropogenic pressure inside the park like livestock grazing and hunting of wild animals. The local tribal hamlets within the tiger reserve are a major source of anthropogenic disturbances and need to be targeted for incentivized voluntary relocation. Till human pressure is reduced, the Tiger Reserve is unlikely to improve in its prey and tiger status any further," said the report.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday unveiled posters and a brochure designed by the Forest Department to mark the International Tiger Day at his camp office in Amaravati.

With an area of 3727.82 sq km, the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve Forest is the largest in the country and currently has 60 tigers, the officials informed the Chief Minister.

The Chenchu tribes living there are playing a major role in the conservation of tigers and wildlife, which resulted in receiving the National Tiger Conservation Authority Excellence Award in the management of the Forest Reserve, the officials said.