Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has asked Madhya Pradesh forest department to stop tiger safari in the State’s Pench National Park, citing alleged violation of wildlife norms.
Pench National Park is famous as home to ‘Mowgli’– the protagonist of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. In a letter to the State’s Chief Wildlife Warden, the CZA said that no safari shall be established without its prior approval.
“As per records of the CZA, no approval has been granted for creation of safari at Pench tiger reserve or Bandhavgarh tiger reserve. Therefore, no construction work should be carried out,” the communique said.
The move assumes significance as many wildlife activists have been objecting to the creation of tiger safari in Pench and in Bandhavgarh national parks claiming it harmful for the big cats. Earlier, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had found alleged violation of laws in construction of tiger safaris in these two national parks. The NTCA, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, had also written to the State government, saying the ongoing construction of tiger safari inside Pench “is detrimental to tiger dispersal” and “exposes them to poaching”.
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The Madhya Pradesh forest department has failed to take “prior approval” from the CZA before construction of tiger safari in Pench and Bandhavgarh.
“It is a welcome decision by the CZA. We want the State government to immediately stop construction works inside the tiger reserve,” said wildlife activist Ajay Dubey.
There are six tiger reserves in Madhya Pradesh–Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Panna, Bori-Satpura, Sanjay-Dubri and Pench– which have at least 257 big cats. While the tiger population in the country was estimated at 1,706 in 2010, it rose to 2,226 in 2014. Madhya Pradesh ranks third–after Karnataka and Uttarakhand–in tiger population in the country.