Bhopal: More tigers would have to be swiftly shifted from Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), if the reason for shifting a big cat to another protected area is anything to go by. A three-year-old tigress was tranquilized and translocated from PTR to Satpura national park on Saturday and an official release by park director Vivek Jain said "it was difficult to manage the tigress because of low-density forest in the buffer zone".

Currently, there are 35 tigers in PTR where around 8 lakh trees and 90 square km area is likely to submerge in Ken-Betwa river-linking project (Phase-1) which got clearance from National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) at a meeting chaired by Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave on August 23.

Though officials favouring river-linking project claim only a small area — 4,141 hectares serve as partial habitat of one tigress and her cub — will be submerged. Wildlife activists claim execution of the mega plan may lead to dispersal of many more tigers from the park.

"If shrinking forest led to shifting of this tigress, they will have to shift more big cats if the river linking project is implemented. Panna tigers are being shifted to Satpura which is a graveyard of big cats and even radio-collared tigers are being poached there," says activist Ajay Dubey, who is likely to file an objection on wildlife clearance given to this project.

UPA denied environmental clearance to the project in 2012. This river interlinking project has got a wildlife clearance within 10 months from the ministry that deferred clearance to mining giant Rio Tinto's Rs 2200 crore diamond mining project, raising concern about possible permanent damage to the landscape of Panna tigers.

Source: Times Of India