Uttar Pradesh Demands Tiger Reserve Status for Pilibhit forests

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New Delhi, Feb 14 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh, which lost one of its only two tiger reserves, the Jim Corbett National Park, to Uttarakhand, has demanded Tiger Reserve status for its terai area of Pilibhit.

Chief Wildlife Warden of the state D N S Suman said here today that the state wildlife department had sent a proposal to the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) in this regard.

''The Pilibhit forests were physically viable for having tigers, as they fulfill the Wildlife Institute of India(WII) criteria for a tiger reserve regarding the minimum area and the number of breeding females,'' Mr Suman, who had come here to take part in the two-day All India Conference of state forests and wildlife officials said.

''I discussed the proposal with officials concerned here in detail and tried to convince them about the eligibility of the state to get one more tiger reserve,'' he said.

Replying to a question, Mr Suman said the number of tigers in areas outside core habitat might have decreased elsewhere as per the latest census, but Pilibhit still maitained a substantial number of the animal.

The idea was to link Kishangarh with Pilibhit and declare the whole area as a reserve, he said.

''Pilibhit is a very promising area. The population pressure was very less as compared to other areas, there is contigous forest and good prey base,'' said Mr Suman.

Pilibhit's name does not figure in the list eight new tiger reserves that are going to be created. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had recently cleared the proposal for the creation of the new reserves during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012) at an estimated cost Rs.320 million.

At present, the country has has 28 Tiger reserves set up under the Project Tiger started in 1973.

The eight new reserves to be created are Kaziranga national park in Assam, Satkosia in Orissa, Perimbikulam-Annamalai on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, Mudumalai in Tamil Nadu, Dandeli wildlife sanctuary and Hansi national park in Karnataka, Sanjay Gandhi national park and Sanjaydhubri wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, Udanti and Sitanadi in Chhattisgarh and Achanakmar also in Chhattisgarh.

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