The recent spotting of five tigers — one male, two females and two cubs-in the State’s richest wild, the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS), is not something very new. The protected area is habitat for wildcat is a well established fact for more than one and half decade now. But unfortunately, the successive State governments are still looking for more and more authentic evidences to declare this core area as – Tiger Reserve – and the reason for such delay is best known to them only.
The Mhadei WLS, that spans just 208 sq kms in the Western Ghats — declared as the protected area in 1999 — is contiguous to the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve in the State of Karnataka. The contiguous forests of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra and the reserve forests and wildlife sanctuary of Radhanagari in Karnataka, Chandoli national park and the reserve forests of Purna and Dodamarg in Maharashtra have been named as Tiger Conservation Units (TCU) (minimum habitat area o should support 50 tigers or have documented evidence of 50 tigers).
And hence, the Goa Forest Department often claims that the tigers spotted here are in transit.
The tiger presence in Goa was first felt in 2002 when the animal census conducted by the State Forest department authenticated the wild cat presence in Mhadei area. This was followed by 2006 and 2010 census that also recorded tiger presence in that area. Though, forest department failed to get the result of 2006 census, the 2010 census had stunned upon presence of five tigers in Goa’s wild, with increase number of leopards and wild dogs.
In 2009, few locals working in an eco-tourism resort at Chorla Ghat sighted a tiger in the region. But the confirmation of the presence of a male tiger came to light after villagers from Chorla and surrounding areas reported sightings and viewed pugmarks in several locations in the Ghats. All of sudden, a fear was developed amongst the locals residing in the areas.
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Source: O Herald O