As you drive through the dusty, dense Kawal Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh’s Adilabad district, it does not take long to hear the jungle’s rhapsody.

Bison, sambar, wild boars and deer can be seen near water bodies, as spotted deer gallop amidst tall teak trees and dry grass.

An initiative undertaken by the World Wild Life Fund and the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department here has come to be a blessing for the animals in the reserve. It provides drinking water using automatic solar pumps.

Regular behavioural patterns of the animals were closely monitored before deciding to install the solar pumps.

As the sun rises and bright rays fall on panels, the submersible pump switches on by itself and shuts off when the sun sets. Each pump evacuates about 30,000 litres of water a day. Of this, 5,000 litres are stored in the overhead tank and the rest flows to the percolation tank. That is where the animals come to drink water.

S. V. Kumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, A. V. Joseph, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wild Life Warden, of Andhra Pradesh, travelled into the heart of the forest to commission the solar projects. Joseph told Business Line that the forest reserve has immense potential to become a base for tigers. Now, we have good number of herbivores and small carnivores and occasionally big animals come in here; it won’t be long before visits by bigger ones increase, he said.

Viable sink

It was notified as a tiger reserve in 2012 and is seen as a viable sink for dispersing tigers. The reserve has a corridor linking tiger landscapes such as the Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserve about 100 km in the north, and Indravati tiger reserve, 150 km to the east.

The tiger reservoir is spread over about 900 sq. km., along with a buffer area of about 1,123 sq. km. It has a splendid montage of habitat that supports the rare assemblage of four Indian antelopes — nilgai, chousinga, chinkara and black buck. The forest is also home to nearly 250 species of birds.The forest authorities are enlisting local tribals to serve in the forest, and once the reserve gets popular, it will provide more job opportunities.

rishikumar.vundi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 7, 2013)
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