[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a bid to provide the national animal and its cubs a safer and quieter habitat, the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) management has declared several parts of the core area to be inviolate.
Encouraged by sighting the big cats and their newborn cubs, the Upper Barahkamuda and Jenabil ranges have been declared no-go areas. Collection of minor forest produce and research activity has been prohibited. The STR has also banned vehicular movements after dusk, except on protection work. During the daytime, officials accompanied by STR staff can patrol the areas only in the vehicles belonging to the STR, Health, Police, Revenue Departments.
Considering that tigers are overly-protective of their cubs and thus prefer isolated areas that are free from any external interference, the park management is maintaining a strong vigil and surveillance on the settlements in and around core areas of the big cat’s habitat. There are 68 villages within the STR which include three villages and two settlements in the core/critical area.
As per the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines, about 800 sq km to 1200 sq km of inviolate area is required for the survival and sustenance of nearly 20 breeding tigers, which will in turn can sustain 50 to 60 tigers in all on a sustainable basis.
“Studies have shown that tigers have left the areas where new roads are created. Tigers also leave places with human presence. They need absolute inviolate area for breeding and growth. Visitors of tiger dens can create disastrous consequences for animals. The loss to species and their habitats after the 2009 Naxal attack was incalculable which has put them under stress. So, the need of the hour is to provide them the much-needed space,” said STR Field Director Anup Nayak.