With Pilibhit setting global benchmark, UP to get 4th tiger reserve at Ranipur
By Amita Verma
Lucknow, April 9 : As many as 173 tigers have seen their numbers grow in the three reserves in Uttar Pradesh. The three – Pilibhit, Dudhwa and Amangarh – also make the state a potential centre for thriving ecotourism. And the state will soon have its fourth tiger reserve in Ranipur in Chitrakoot district.
Protected areas in the state also have a floating population of tigers who cross over from neighbouring Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh.
“UP has tremendous potential to attract tourists in tiger reserves in the Terai belt as it is well-connected by road and the train network. The Terai area has a healthy tiger population which is growing over years,” said nature enthusiast Sanjay Kumar.
A Tiger Reserve refers to a protected area designed for the conservation of tigers. A tiger reserve can also be a national park or a wildlife sanctuary.
The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) in November 2020 was awarded the coveted TX2 Award for doubling the number of tigers in four years.
PTR was the first reserve to receive the award among 13 tiger range countries. The reserve had 25 tigers in 2014 and the number increased to 65 in 2018, acording to official sources.
The forest department has made UP Forest Corporation (UPFC) a nodal agency for ecotourism promotion and development in tiger reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
“The forest corporation has definitely worked in the direction. There is enough infrastructure within the tiger reserves. What we are trying to do is to bring in private entrepreneurs to improve the boarding and lodging facilities outside the reserves in a manner that it does not disturb the tiger population,” said a forest official.
The Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) lies adjacent to the Indo-Nepal border and comprises the Dudhwa National Park Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary, and Kishanpur wildlife sanctuary.
It was designated as a tiger reserve in 1987 under the purview of the Project Tiger.
This tiger reserve is spread over an area of 1284.3 square kilometres. Mohana and Dudhwa rivers pass through the reserve.
It is composed of a vast alluvial plain and numerous rivulets, lakes, and pools.
It comes under the fertile Indo-Gangetic plain, which plays a vital role in supporting the fauna diversity of this tiger reserve.
This tiger reserve is the only place in Uttar Pradesh where both tigers and rhinos are found together.
The Amangarh Tiger Reserve (ATR) is one of the most beautiful and richest flora and fauna areas in the district of Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. It was notified as a tiger reserve in 2012. It is spread over 95 square kilometres, including wetlands, dense forests, and grasslands.
The ATR lies adjacent to the Corbett Tiger Reserve; hence it has been declared the buffer area of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
This tiger reserve comprises approximately 27 tigers, according to the last census.
The Ranipur Tiger Reserve will be the fourth in UP. It will also be the first in the Bundelkhand region of the state.
Forest officials have been extremely vigilant in the past one decade to check poaching in the tiger reserves which has led to an increase in the big cat population.
“Many poachers have been arrested and their gangs have been busted. Special vigil is being maintained along the UP-Nepal border which has checked poaching,” said a Special Task Force official.
Man-animal conflict, however, remains a cause for concern and that is mainly due to extending human habitation in the Terai region.