Friday, 16 October 2015

Goa - Unknown Home for Tigers

Goa which is situated on the West Coast of India is well known for its famous beaches such as Calangute, Vagator, Colva, and Arambol.

However, it is relatively unknown as a "Refuge" for Tigers.

Camera Traps installed by the Wildlife Conservation Society in April 2013 in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa captured 4 Tigers on film.

These findings, on film give some hope that the State Government of Goa in its wisdom will now declare this sanctuary located in the ecologically rich "Western Ghats" or Western Indian Mountains
a "Tiger Reserve".

It is necessary to declare 500 square kilometres of the Mhadei Region right now as a "Tiger Reserve" in order to protect it from vested interests namely mining companies.

It seems that Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary has become the "permanent abode" of Tigers. Goa's Chief Wildlife Warden says that there are Tigers in an area of at least 200 square kilometres.

Earlier, it was believed that these Tigers were crossing over from Karnataka and Maharashtra in search of food-- but that's not the case now.

Goa State Forest Department records indicate the permanent presence of at least 6-10 Tigers in Goa.

Apart from this evidence, from the Goa State Forest Department, there is evidence indicating the presence of at least 35 resident tigers in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in North Goa.

Strictly speaking, Goa was not a traditional "Home" for Tigers but in the past 5-10 years, Tigers from neighbouring Bhimgad and Anshi-Dandeli Tiger Reserves in Karnataka had visited Forests in Sattari  District of North Goa because of "Biotic Pressures".

Now, in 2015 there is evidence to show that Tigers in Goa are not merely "Transient Animals" but are part and parcel of the resident population.

Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa is a contiguous tiger landscape with tiger areas in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

 Important Points to be kept in mind regarding Tiger Habitat in Goa :

1) Mhadei and Neturlim, Goa's Wildlife Sanctuaries declared in June 1999 were notified then as one of the finest tiger habitats in the country by the then Goa Government.

2) They were also identified as a "Tiger Conservation Unit" along with contiguous forest areas of Karnataka and Maharashtra in a study by international organisations.

3) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Wildlife Conservation Society, New York in a study had categorised the "Western Ghats" as the second best tiger habitat in India after the Sunderbans Mangrove Forests in West Bengal in Eastern India.

Credits and References :

1)  Tigers caught on camera in Goa by Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times  Saturday, April 27, 2013

2) Goa is the new Home for Tigers by Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, July 4, 2011


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