9 Jan 2024

Madhya Pradesh: Marginal Decline in Prey Numbers Prompts Action at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

Bhopal: In the midst of an upward trend in tiger and leopard populations, the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve is facing a slight decline in its prey base. Authorities are actively considering expanding the grasslands in response to this situation. To address the issue, plans are underway to relocate ten villages from the core area, with one village already expressing preliminary approval for the move.

Acknowledging the marginal decrease in the prey base, a senior official highlighted that the density of Cheetals, which was once 41 per square kilometer, has now decreased to 36. Although the current situation is not alarming, efforts are being made to augment the grasslands to support the Cheetal population. The official emphasized that if the Cheetal density had dropped to 15-16 per square kilometer, it would have been a cause for concern.

Proposal to relocate ten villages

Deputy Director and District Forest Officer Prakash Kumar Verma, when approached, informed that there is a proposal to relocate ten villages within the core area to boost the prey base. Currently, the villagers of Gadpuri have consented to the relocation, with a majority of the village residents being prepared for the move.

The shift of this specific village from the core area will open up a substantial space for grasslands, contributing to the expansion of the prey base. Additionally, initiatives are underway to enhance the existing grasslands spread across 1535 square kilometers of the tiger reserve, noted the official. There has been a noticeable change in the behavior of tigers, with an observed preference for easier prey like cattle due to the challenges posed by hunting Cheetals in the wild.

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