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Experts urge govt to declare sanctuaries as tiger reserve

Experts urge govt to declare sanctuaries as tiger reserve

Panaji: Seeking greater protection for Goa’s big cats, two wildlife conservationists recently recommended that the state’s sanctuaries be declared a tiger reserve, with a primary core of 150-200sq km in Mhadei and a satellite core of 100 sq km in Netravali.

An identical proposal for a large tiger reserve had been earlier mooted by the Goa State Board for Wildlife.

The state had engaged A J T Johnsingh and R Raghunathto of the Nature Conservation Foundation, Bengaluru, to evaluate habitat status, forest connectivity and status of the tiger and its prey species. In a recent report to the government, the conservationists said Mhadei had the potential to become the primary core of the tiger reserve as there were no mines within the sanctuary and also because the villagers of Codaval had been resettled.

Goa is known to have five tigers after the forest department conducted a census using the camera-trap method. The conservationists also found the possibility of tiger scats in a few places after rapid field surveys between January 20 and 26, 2016.
The four protected areas of Mhadei, Molem, Neturlim and Cotigao stretch from north-east to south-west, forming a for 755 sq km contiguous corridor for wildlife in the state’s hinterlands.
“Goa may have 20% of its area under protection, but over the decades, this has not helped in increasing wildlife richness,” the report stated. It suggested various measures, including periodic searches for snares laid by farmers and villagers, which sometimes kill even tigers.

“If the four protected areas are declared a tiger reserve, Goa’s ecology will be strengthened forever. Goa has amazing ecological strength in the form of hills, rivers, forests, fertile soil and marine wealth, and this needs to be protected, managed and perpetuated,” Johnsingh told TOI on Thursday.
This article was 1st published on Times of India on 13th Oct 2017


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