The forests of Kaimur district, which include the Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary, have been earmarked as a second reserve for tigers since the Valmiki reserve has reached saturation level
Officials of the Bihar government have identified forests in Kaimur as a possible site for the state’s second tiger reserve after the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR).
“We are planning to develop Biihar’s second tiger reserve in Kaimur. We have already started work for it which will take some time,” Santosh Tiwari, director of the ecology department, said.
Tiwari, who had visited the Kaimur forests earlier this month, added that the work to develop the Kaimur forests into a tiger reserve had been assigned to divisional forest officer (DFO) Vikas Ahlawat. “We will help him to expedite the work and will review it every three months,” he said.
Tiwari told Down To Earth that it was a big challenge for his team to develop and ensure Kaimur to officially declare a new tiger reserve in the state.
“We have to first work on habitat improvement. From there, we have to move to safety and security for tigers in Kaimur. Only after that will we formally send a proposal to the Centre to approve and declare it as a new tiger reserve. It is a long process that is bound to take some time,” he said.
A senior forest officer said the need for a second reserve arose as the VTR was nearing saturation point. Bihar’s sole tiger reserve currently has the capacity to manage nearly 50 tigers. According to the latest census, there are more than 40 tigers including 31 adult tigers and 12 cubs.
“VTR is near saturation level and cannot sustain more than fifty tigers which is likely to happen in the coming years. The department has to create another reserve for tigers in the state,” the official said.
The first initiative to develop Kaimur into a second tiger reserve was made in 2018 by the then Kaimur DFO Satyajeet Kumar, who had sent a proposal to the forest department after he sighted two tigers, their pug marks and the corpses of deer and other prey animals killed by tigers in 2017.
In his report to the department, Kumar confirmed the presence of tigers in the Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary.
The forest department sent a team of experts in October last year to Kaimur. “The team that included former director of Wild Life Institute of India, AJT Johnsingh, gave the go-ahead to the forest department to declare the area as a tiger reserve in its report,” another forest official said.
Tigers were spotted in Kaimur till 1995.
According to the Bihar forest department’s official website, the forests of Kaimur are in 1,134 square kilometres in area, including the 986 square kilometres of the Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Kaimur district has the highest green cover in Bihar: 34 per cent. Besides, the Kaimur forests are the biggest in the state in terms of area. The Kaimur forests are connected to forests in the neighbouring states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
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