UP's Pilibhit forests among four new tiger reserves approved

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New Delhi, May 23 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh has finally won the Centre's approval for declaring the Pilibhit Forests in its terai region as a Tiger Reserve.

The state had lost one of its only two tiger reserves, the Jim Corbett National Park, to Uttarakhand, when the hill state was carved out of it in 2000.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, three more states will get one reserve each--Sunabeda in Orissa, Shahyadri in Maharashtra, and Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh. One park will be treated as a separate Reserve.

The approval for creation of these parks was given at the third meeting of The National Tiger Conservation Authority which met here on wednesday last.

The Pilibhit forests in Uttar Pradesh 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, according to Chief Wildlife Warden of the state D N S Suman.

All four states concerned had submitted proposals to the Ministry of Environment and Forests sometime back. The Authority also approved a proposal from Karnataka to treat Nagarahole National Park as a separate reserve which was a part of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.

The meeting, held under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Forest and Environment S Regupathy, also discussed the reports of the committees constituted by the Authority for refinement of monitoring process and strategy for Tiger Reserves affected by extremist disturbances.

The Authority also took note of the recent all India tiger estimation findings, and protection strategy in tiger reserves.

It approved several other proposals, which interalia, included funding support for research and monitoring through the Wildlife Institute of India, contractual arrangement for NTCA staff, radio telemetry monitoring of tigers, awareness programme, support to Non-Governmental Organisations with MOU for capacity building, research and tiger estimation and tiger reintroduction proposals.

Earlier, Pilibhit's name did not figure in the list of eight new tiger reserves that were 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 of Rs.320 million.

So far, the country has 28 Tiger reserves set up under the Project Tiger started in 1973. The eight new reserves approved earlier were 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.

UNI NAZ KD DS1547

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