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Kali Tiger Reserve: Paving The Way Forward For Conservation

Kali Tiger Reserve: Paving The Way Forward For Conservation

There is always a pressing need to advance the methods and technologies that our forest departments use for conservation. That the importance of adequate tracking and anti-poaching initiatives has been absorbed by our national parks emerged recently in a report released by the management of Kali Tiger Reserve. Stuti Pachisia pens a summary.

Tourists raft on the Kali river. Photo: Forest Department Kali Tiger Reserve.

Karnataka’s Kali Tiger Reserve (KTR), previously known as Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve, has a history of pro-active conservation, and employs several strategies towards this end. An earlier Sanctuary feature noted that the reserve employs line-transect sampling to measure wildlife populations. The method, which involves walking along a demarcated area (a straight line) and noting animal sightings over a period of time, is integral to recording animal population densities. Recently, in a report released by the reserve, several new initiatives and activities that have been undertaken are highlighted. These measures include upgraded patrolling software, a camera trap survey and a successful Voluntary Relocation Program.

As per the report, KTR has introduced the Huli Patrolling software. As an article in the Deccan Herald noted, “The software helps in coordinating the movements of anti-poaching squad, forest observers and guards, with the help a of global positioning system (GPS). The monitoring authorities sitting in their office could easily detect the location of the field staff.” The app. is now being used for tiger census across reserves. In Kali Tiger Reserve, the app. is being used to monitor daily patrol paths, for which each of the 43 anti-poaching patrolling camps have been equipped with GPS-based smart phones. Sighting records have also become more consolidated because of the this, and are updated on a daily basis.

A spectacular melanistic leopard caught on camera trap. Photo: Forest Department, Kali Tiger Reserve.

Additionally, in 2015, a camera trap survey was conducted in the reserve for the first time. Amongst the photographs from the survey were images of a female tiger with a cub, indicating a breeding tiger population. Rare species such as pangolins, chevrotains, rusty-spotted cats and melanistic leopards were also recorded.  The CSS Corp CSR Foundation donated 100 camera traps for this exercise.

In fact, there have been significant contributions to the reserve: the Kanwar branch of State Bank of Mysore contributed a Maruti Omni to the park for medical health camps, Wildlife Conservation Trust donated a camper and WWF India contributed blankets to the anti-poaching camps. The Reserve is also working on garnering financial resources, by promoting nature tourism in the state. As Park Director Mr. Srinivasalu said, “Comprehensive eco tourism initiatives such as the upgradation of nature camp facilities, improvement of the safari road, the entrance gate, with proper uniforms and training to drivers and nature guides have resulted in nearly a three-fold increase in the Tiger Foundation revenue: from 90 lakhs to 2.7 crores in two years.”

The park has also sought to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, by facilitating successful Voluntary Relocation Programs. The relocation efforts are beneficial to both humans and wildlife, as they grant villagers accessibility to electricity, schools and medicine, while giving more space to increasing populations of wild fauna. Thus far, 27 families have been relocated, with 11 families being relocated from Anshi alone. All relocations are conducted according to the guidelines laid out by India's National Tiger Conservation Authority.

Camera traps captured villagers, who live inside the reserve, carrying a patient in need of medical attention. Voluntary relocation of villages from inside the core area has commenced. Photo: Forest Department, Kali Tiger Reserve.

The park has laid emphasis on nature conservation by conducting workshops in schools and colleges. The Park Director noted that the park raised awareness “through documentaries on the river Kali, massive children education programs (the Chinnara Vanya Darshana, in which children visit forests for three days for a closer interaction with nature), sensitising public representatives on the importance of tiger reserves through workshops under Sarvajanika Samvada, roadside awareness boards, a massive anti-plastic and anti-littering campaign, by marketing products from woman self-help groups.”

Nature lovers can rejoice as Kali Tiger Reserve, with its programmes and developing technologies, is paving the way forward for conservation consciousness. 


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