Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tigers to Have More Space in Palamau National Park

Palamau National Park

It is recently reported that tigers in Palamau National Park will be receiving more space, due to the state forest department's role in honoring a twelve-year-old notification which recommends an additional 300 square kilometers. As part of this notification, forest belts in Latehar and Ranchi West Division will be merged into the national park to assure better conservation of the animals and habitat management. The process will expand the park's total area from 1,026 square kilometers to 1,326 square kilometers. The transfer of Palamau's neighboring forest areas is expected to be completed within a month. According to Palamau's Divisional Forest Officer (core) Premjit Anand, formalities have been made with divisional officers and pockets of Latehar will be integrated within ten days.

The notification was first brought up to the government of Jharkhand, but resulted in excuses ranging from manpower crunch to areas being Naxalite strongholds. S.E.H Kazmi, Palamau's director, was happy to say the proposal was taking shape. He further added that they (forest department and other officials involved) will boost up funds and habitat management plans like building enclosures. This will guarantee better monitoring of buffer zones and reduce man-animal conflict, including poaching. Although Mr. Kazmi refused to say why the project was delayed for twelve years, other people involved gave their reasons. One of them was Divisional Forest Officer (buffer) A.K Mishra, who explained that there were disagreements between the central notification and the instructions from the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) on areas to be included. Another official stated that some department officials just were not interested in the first place, explaining that increase in area meant more work in terms of patrolling, monitoring, and habitat management. According to PCCF A.K Singh, rules and regulations for recruiting forest guards have been prepared. In addition to that, a proposal for a tiger foundation had been formulated couple of months ago and is currently awaiting approval from the state government.

I'm very happy and proud to see what the tigers in Palamau will be receiving. In addition to that, I'm also satisfied to see what plans have been called regarding their protection. For example, there will be extension in activities such as patrolling, monitoring, habitat management, and establishment of enclosures. This means that Palamau's tigers and other wildlife will have a bright and shiny future. However, I was disturbed to see that tigers numbers had plummeted from seventeen animals to eleven animals due to the delay in this plan. Part of the reason was that Jharkhand and its neighboring areas were in the Naxalite grip, which may have given the poachers an opportunity to pillage and plunder the reserve. I personally think that as part of the project, more tigers should be brought to Palamau in order to reboost their population. With just eleven animals, it is not enough to help keep the park's ecosystem in balance.

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