Panaji, Feb 11 (IANS) Recommending upgradation of Goa’s Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary to a Tiger Reserve, a National Tiger Conservation Authority report has said, that mismanagement of the protected area could make the sanctuary a death-trap for tigers.
The report, which was commissioned by the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests after the poisoning of four tigers in January, also said that nothing was well with management of the Mhadei Wildlife 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 authored by Rajendra Garawad, Assistant Inspector General of Forests (NTCA).
Garawad was a part of a Union Ministry of Environment and Forests team which was dispatched to Goa to probe the death of four tigers who were poisoned to death. Four persons, all tribals living in the sanctuary area, were arrested for poisoning the tigers.
“It will also empower the local communities residing inside the sanctuary by giving access to development opportunities as they will be able to utilize the voluntary resettlement scheme for joining the mainstream society,” the report also said.
Garawad also noted, that the death of four tigers had revealed that “not all is well with the management of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary”.
“According to wildlife activists who prefer to be anonymous, presence of tigers inside Mhadei WLS is a well known and documented fact which is reluctantly accepted by the Goa Forest Department. They allege that over the years, the Forest Department has not taken any serious and sincere steps for protection and conservation of tigers,” it says.
“Without up-grading the legal status of Goa’s Protected Areas to that of tiger reserve and putting in place a strong protection regime in place, the state may become death trap for tigers dispersing in this landscape,” the report further says.
Some of the recommendations made by the NTCA include setting up of anti-poaching camps (until the area is declared as a Tiger Reserve), delineation of sanctuary boundary, a systematic survey of the boundaries of the sanctuary, setting up of a state level task force for management of protected areas, developing an informer network, etc.