Rajaji Park likely to become tiger reserve in a month

Dehradun: Uttarakhand's famous Rajaji Park which recently got the status of a National Park is likely to become a tiger reserve in a month, a senior forest official said on Monday.

   "With a long-pending notification giving it the status of a national park already issued, we are now focusing on getting the tiger reserve status for the park," Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (wildlife) Savya Sachi Sharma said.

   The proposal seeking a tiger reserve status for it has already been cleared by the Ministry of Forest and Environment and a notification in this regard is likely to be issued in a month, he said.

   Moreover, a full-fledged legal status as a national park strengthens its claim for being declared a tiger reserve which will give a boost to tiger conservation efforts at the sanctuary, he said.

   "Most of the bottlenecks for the park being declared as a tiger reserve have been removed with the MoEF clearance to our proposal. The only bottleneck that remains now is addition of the Laldhang and Kotdwar forest ranges to the park which is also likely to be overcome soon," he said.

   Camera traps installed in different ranges of the park testify to the presence of at least 13 tigers in the park's Chilla range with a strong possibility of the big cat's presence in its other ranges as well, he said.

   With its diversified flora and fauna and variety of wildlife presence, the park qualifies as an ideal habitat for tiger, the official said.

   The status of a tiger reserve will give a boost to tiger conservation efforts at the park with the National Tiger Conservation Authority releasing funds to be used for improvement of patrolling and creation of a separate task force to minimise man-animal conflict on its fringes, Sharma said.

   "With more resources at our disposal, we can effectively minimise poaching and man-animal conflicts in the fringe areas through stepped up patrolling and creation of a dedicated force to tackle the twin challenges," the PCCF (Wildlife) said.

   On the recent status of a national park granted to the sanctuary, he said it was pending for years and will go a long way in conservation and management of wildlife at the sanctuary.

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