By Samuel Mathai
The first phase of the All India Tiger Assessment 2018 indicates increase in the number of tigers in Madhya Pradesh. In 2014, presence of 308 tigers was found in the state's 717 forest beats. This year, according to official sources, there is evidence of the presence more tigers in the 1432 beats in the state.
Tiger makes its own territory. With the rise in the number of tigers, adolescent tigers have started moving into new areas. Shifting of tigers in Sanjay Gandhi, Panna, Satpura Tiger Reserves from the tiger-dominated areas has also resulted in the increase of new pairs. Apart from the Forest Department, citizens and NGOs have also contributed in the wildlife conservation.
In the All India Tiger Assessment, in Phase-1, figures have been collected from over 30,000 beats of 21 states. Of these, Madhya Pradesh alone has 9,000 beats. Preparation for assessment in the state had started in February 2017.
Master trainers have been trained in each zone dividing the state into seven zones. 250 master trainers have been made in the entire state.
The state government has also increased compensation in cases of loss of life and injury caused by wild animals. Rs 4 lakh will be given in case of loss of life by wild animals and tiger etc.
Earlier there was no provision for compensation for cases of injuries caused by animals, but now provision has been made for such cases. In addition to the treatment in the hospital, the injured person is provided Rs 500 per day.
The inclusion of loss of life, public-injury and animal-injury in the Public Services Guarantee Act 2010 has also proved to be a significant step.
The Forest Department has shifted herbivores from densely populated areas to the Tiger Reserve, and started production of grass through scientific management in the villages vacated in the Tiger Reserve.
The number of herbivores has increased greatly as they are getting nutritious meal and grass and the tigers in the Tiger Reserve are also getting adequate food. Wild animals abound in forest areas in the Tiger Reserve and outside of the state.
A corridor is being developed to connect the reserved areas of wild animals. The government has set a special budget head to manage wild animals. Fund is being made available for wildlife management outside protected areas.
As the number of wild animals in the state is increasing steadily, human-wildlife conflicts also occur increasingly. For this wildlife rescue squads have been established to deal with the issue. Now, 15 Regional Rescue Squads are working in the state.
The government has spent Rs 1000 crore for the rehabilitation of villagers displaced from Tiger Reserves. This has increased the security of tigers. The villagers have also been able to connect with the main stream of development.
The STF team established by the Forest Department has an important role in the security of tigers. The works of STF has acquired recognition in the international level. Organizations, like Interpol has also appreciated the works of the Forest STF team of Madhya Pradesh.
Awareness programmes related to protection of tigers are being run by the Madhya Pradesh Tiger Foundation Society and Madhya Pradesh Eco Tourism Board.
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