Tiger's location to decide future of Mhadei as Tiger Reserve

VISHANT VAZE, BICHOLIM | 28 April 2013 20:28 IST

The Wild Life Conservation Society (WLCS), based in Bangalore, would finally decide whether tigers exist in Goan forests or come here from Karnataka, even though a tigress was trapped in the Mhadei wild life sanctuary ten days ago.

The ball to declare part of Goan forest as a Tiger Reserve would start rolling only after this report.

As per the information gathered in this regard, the Goa forest officials have sent photos of the tigress to Dr. Ulhas Karanth, renowned environmentalist heading the WLCS.

A survey is being conducted in Goa’s four wild life sanctuaries – Netravali, Mollem, Bondla and Mhadei – to find out permanent habitat of tigers in Goan forests.

The survey is expected to continue for three more years.

As tiger moves around 65 kms of area, it has become vital now whether the tigers found in Goan forests live here permanently or come from the neighbouring forests of Karnataka state.

Pratapsing Rane, Goa’s former chief minister and now leader of opposition as the MLA from Sattari belt, claimed in the Assembly recently that all the tigers come from Dandeli forest of Karnataka.

Contrary to his claim, the animal count conducted in 2007 had established a fact that tigers exist in Goan forests.

Following this, an incident of killing of a tiger four years ago in Keri, Sattari, falling in the jurisdiction of Mhadei sanctuary, had brought the issue once again to the fore.

The Goan environmentalists had then urged union ministry of forest and environment to take remedial measures to protect the forests as human settlement disturbs the wild life.

Accordingly, then union forest and environment minister Jairam Ramesh had written to Goa government to start paper work in order to declare Mhadei sanctuary as the Tiger Reserve.

In order to find out the movement of tigers in Goan forests, the WLCS had also conducted a workshop for Goa’s forest officials on the modus operandi of trapping tigers in the cameras.

This had finally succeeded in catching the tigress in trap cameras on 18 April.

Following this, there are reports that the villagers around Chorla Ghat have seen the whole family of tigers moving in the Mhadei forest.

The future course of action however would now depend on the report from Dr Karanth, who would try and establish where the ‘camera-trapped’ tigress belongs to – Goa or Karnataka.

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It is advisable to leave it to the experts to decide on the subject.

- Francisco, Goa | 28 th April 2013 22:39


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