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Telangana wildlife set for a boost, but funds are a constraint

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 10, 2014
Corridor map of Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district

ADILABAD,TELANGANA,17/09/2014;The vast corridor area for Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district.-PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT - ADILABAD,TELANGANA,17/09/2014;The vast corridor area for Kawal Tiger Reserve in Adilabad district.-PHOTO: BY ARRANGEMENT

If plans of the Forest Department of Telangana go well, the people in the new State can hope to see good wildlife around.

The Department of Forests has drawn up mega plans to give a fillip to the forests which are now spread across one-fourth of total geographic area of the State.

"Our task on hand is to develop eight to 10 forest areas in and around the city of Hyderabad and to create new tiger corridors,’’ PK Sharma, Chief Wildlife Warden and Spl. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Telangana, told Business Line here.

At present, there are 12 protected areas, including nine sanctuaries and three national parks besides two tiger reserves at Amarabad and Kawal in the State.

Now, plans are afoot to develop two tiger corridors between Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary – Kinnerasani and Papikonda and extend the Kawal reserve to Tadoba Andheri Tiger reserve in Maharashtra and Indravathi Tiger Reserve, the official said.

Deer parks are also set to come up in Karimnagar, Kinnerasani, Pillalamarri and Shameerper. "More importantly, the Warangal Zoo is being expanded. At present, there are 50 acres and Government has just sanctioned another 40 acres for expansion,’’ Sharma said.

CHALLENGES

While plans are grandiose, challenges are aplenty. "We are struggling hard with inadequate funding which on an average amounts to less than one per cent of the total budget of the State. As one-fourth of the geographical area is under the administrative control of the Forest Department, there is an immediate need to enhance budgetary allocation for forests,’’ he said.

Inadequate staff is another concern. Including the recently recruited employees, the total headcount in the department is 5,000 and 35 to 45 per cent of the permitted staff strength generally lies vacant without recruitment.

"As of now each forest guard will have to protect 25 km of area. This is much lesser in the adjoining states. Each guard covers only five km and 8 km respectively in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. We need to ramp up number of employees,’’ he said.

Lack of permission to carry firearms for forest guards is also a problem.

There could be a case for the Government to act on the wildlife front as post bifurcation, Telangana appears to have lost the tiger population. Though officials are tight-lipped, it is learnt reliably that a recent survey conducted in state did not record any tiger-presence.

Tigers could only be saved if entire wildlife is saved as a single tiger would require 52 animals of a Sambar deer size per year to survive!

Published on October 10, 2014
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