Pune: The first ever full-grown tiger was sighted at Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR). Initiated in 2010, the tiger reserve is spread over 1,165.56 sq km or area.
However, it was often criticised for one such tiger reserve sans tigers. In 2015, the forest department had installed around 225 cameras in the grid of each 2 sq km.
In one of the camera traps, the full grown male tiger was sighted twice on the evening of May 23 and May 24 midnight respectively.
Cleament Ben, Field Director and Chief Conservator of Forest of STR, while speaking to Sakal Times, however, refused to disclose the exact location of tiger citing security reasons.
Ben added that the tiger sighted in May may not be the resident one and shared had it been resident one, the forest department may have got indirect evidence pointing out its presence. Sharing why this news was disclosed only a month after, Ben added, “The memory stick of cameras is changed after a gap of 50 days so when it was recently changed, it presented a direct evidence of movement of a big cat.”
Ben added that it’s great news and the moment of success for the employees and staff members of forest department attached to STR. STR which covers the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and Chandoli National Park, including a 600.12 sq km core and 565.45 sq km has a buffer zone in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri districts.
Recently, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had also formed a team for tiger recovery in STR. The team has officials from NTCA, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and Maharashtra Forest Department officials on board for the tiger recovery in STR.
Rohan Bhate, former honorary wildlife warden, President, Creative Nature Friends, said, “The tiger sighted in STR might have travelled from Radhanagari-Dodamarg-Tilari.” He further added that there was an evidence suggesting the presence of the breeding population of big cat in Tilari- southern part of Maharashtra. Bhate added that a few years ago photographic evidence of tiger was also recovered from Radhanagari forests. He added that the earlier studies indicate that tiger travels in northern western ghat area in search of prey or for mating.
Bhate, however, added that the presence of tiger is a healthy indicator that the population of herbivorous animals is satisfactory. Bhate added that forest department now needs to emphasise on controlling the development in Chandoli-Koyna corridor and also needs to strengthen Tilari- Radhanagari and the Radhanagari-Chandoli corridors.