Nagpur: On November 28, Karanja Sohol, Maharashtra’s second smallest wildlife sanctuary after Lonar, welcomed a new guest: a roaring tiger. Six days later, on December 4, a tiger entered a house in the heart of Khamgaon town in Buldhana district.
The two incidents have puzzled officials of the Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR), who are on their guard to know where these big cats come from. This is the first time that tigers have entered areas where they had never ventured before.
Karanja Sohol (18.32sqkm) notified in 2000 is a blackbuck sanctuary in the village of Sohol in Karanja in Washim and hence the name Karanja Sohol. On the evening of November 28, a tiger was recorded here on camera traps, creating a surprise.
“The tiger is the newcomer to the sanctuary as its striped pattern does not match any of the Tipeshwar or Melghat tigers we suspected it came from,” said the chief forest curator (CCF) and director of Jayoti Banerjee field.
âSecond, the image of the Khamgaon tiger captured on CCTV on December 4th at 4.30am is blurry and unless we have a clear image we cannot identify the animal. there are two different tigers or the same tiger that was recorded at Karanja Sohol. The distance between the two spots is 90 km as the crow flies and it is possible that there are two tigers, “Banerjee said.
âWith two Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) in place, we are on high alert, but the Khamgaon tiger was not seen after the evening of November 5. Camera traps were set and once the images obtained, the identification could be carried out. We hope that the tiger will enter the nearby sanctuary of Dnyanganga, a safe habitat, “said Akshay Gajbhiye, deputy curator of Buldhana.
Environmentalist Kishor Rithe says, âThere can be two tigers. Park managers should also verify the new tiger with Bor and Kawal Tiger Reserves or the Muktai-Bhavani Conservation Reserve Database in Jalgaon. In India, due to dwindling habitats and increasing numbers, tigers inhabit a wide variety of habitats ranging from high mountains, mangroves, high grasslands, zudpi jungles and even power stations and mining areas. The dispersal of tigers requires the identification of corridors and the urgent need to strengthen connectivity.
According to the Indian Tiger Estimate (AITE), the number of big cats increased from 2,226 in 2014 to 2,967 in 2018. Also in Maharashtra, their number increased from 103 in 2006 to 312 in 2018, or a threefold increase in 12 years. .
Earlier, in June 2019 and 2020, there were two long tiger scatters from Tipeshwar Sanctuary in Pandharkawda in search of mates and territory. T1-C1 aka Walker-I traveled more than 3,200 km to reach the Ajanta Hills in Aurangabad and return to Dnyanganga Wildlife Reserve near Khamgaon crossing eight districts.
The Walker-I Trail was followed by another T3-C1 aka Walker-II tiger in 2020. The tiger reached Gautala Autramghat, 70 km from Aurangabad, traveling over 2,100 km. It was after 80 years that any tiger had reached Gautala Forest. The tiger Karanja Sohol is not one of the two.
âThere have been several dispersions from source areas like Tipeshwar to sink. In September of this year, a tiger reached the Kinwat Range in Nanded. There is a regular dispersal in the Kawal Tiger Reserve in Telangana and in the Painganga Sanctuary, 100 km from Tipeshwar. The government should declare Painganga (400 kmÂ²) and Tipeshwar (149 kmÂ²) a combined tiger reserve for better prospects. It will bring good days to the tigers, âsaid Yadav Tarte, Wildlife Board Member.
Wildlife Institute of India (WII) scientist Bilal Habib said the tigers heading to Nanded, Buldhana, Akola, Washim and Aurangabad districts from Tipeshwar used narrow roads, canals, agricultural fields and settlements. humans rather than forests. This has already been mapped using tiger telemetry studies.
âIn a country with an increasing demand for land by an ever-growing population, the conservation of these large carnivores requires innovative land use planning approaches that maintain connectivity between source populations of tigers,â explains Habib.