Explained: India’s newest Tiger Reserve, No. 4 in Chhattisgarh

Wildlife experts and activists in the state believe that turning Guru Ghasidas into a Tiger Reserve is important because it connects Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and provides a corridor for tigers to move between the Bandhavgarh and Palamau Tiger Reserves.

On Tuesday (October 5), the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) approved the Chhattisgarh government’s proposal to declare the combined areas of the Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve.

The new Reserve is located in the northern part of the state, bordering Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. This will be the fourth Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, after the Udanti-Sitanadi, Achanakmar, and Indravati Reserves.

The proposal was considered by the 11th Technical Committee of the NTCA on September 1, and approval was granted a month later under Section 38V(1) of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. (“Tiger Conservation Plan: The State Government shall, on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority, notify an area as a tiger reserve.”)

A decade in making

The Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary was identified as part of the Sarguja Jashpur Elephant Reserve in 2011. The Guru Ghasidas National Park used to be part of the Sanjay National Park in undivided Madhya Pradesh. Both were identified as reserve forests, and had been in line to be notified as Tiger Reserve since 2011.

Medium-sized reserve

The constituent units of the new Tiger Reserve, Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary, are spread over 1,44,000 hectares (1,440 sq km) and 60,850 hectares (608.5 sq km) respectively.

Guru Ghasidas National Park is in Koriya district; Tamor Pingla is in Surajpur district in the northwestern corner of Chhattisgarh.

Significance, importance

Guru Ghasidas National Park was the last known habitat of the Asiatic cheetah in the country. Originally part of the Sanjay Dubri National Park, Guru Ghasidas Park was created as a separate entity in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja region after the formation of the state in 2001.

The former BJP government of the state had decided to make Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary part of a bigger elephant corridor in the northern part of the state, and moved to obtain approval for the Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary in the centre of the state as a Tiger Reserve. Resistance from the local population in Bhoramdeo, however, forced the government to step back from the idea in 2018.

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The Congress government threw its weight behind getting approval from NTCA for Guru Ghasidas National Park.

Wildlife experts and activists in the state believe that turning Guru Ghasidas into a Tiger Reserve is important because it connects Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and provides a corridor for tigers to move between the Bandhavgarh and Palamau Tiger Reserves.

Bhoramdeo, on the other hand, connects the Indravati Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh with the Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and, experts say, the decision to create a Tiger Reserve at Guru Ghasidas National Park should not affect attempts to notify Bhoramdeo as a Tiger Reserve too.

 

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