Gondia, November 30th, 2018 : Geographically connected with major tiger reserves in Central India like Kanha and Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, Pench and Tadoba- Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharshtra, the Nagzira Nawegaon Tiger Reserve (NNTR) has come a long way from being a reserve forest in 1878 to being declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1970. Along with Nawegaon National Park and three newly formed Wildlife Sanctuaries; New Nagzira, Nawegaon and Koka WLS now was popularly known as NNTR spreading its protective wings from 282 sq. km to 656 sq. km under the tiger reserve.
WTI through its six ‘Big Ideas’ – Wild Lands, Species Conservation, Wild Aid, Green Livelihoods, Enforcement & Law and Conflict first initiated identification and functionality of corridor connectivity between Nagzira and Nawegaon. Based on the similar lines, the third NNTR Stakeholder Workshop was held on 30th Nov. 2018 at Bodalkasa on the fringe of Nagzira TR by Maharashtra Forest Department.
This Protected Area network comes under the ‘Critical Tiger Habitat’ (CTH) category for flagship carnivore – tiger. NNTR being one of the youngest tiger reserves in the country has secured itself in the topmost position among TR’s in Maharashtra in a mere 5 years.
WTI made the first occupancy report of tigers and prey species in the Nagzira Nawegaon Tadoba corridor in 2012, along with former DCF Sanjay Taware. He was the first to predict a multifold increase in tiger conflict at Brahmapuri Forest Division.
Having said that, for a better management of the PA network of this landscape WTI trained around 711 frontline forest staff in crime investigations, patrolling, offence booking and documentation; besides equipping 632 staff in basic protection and monitoring gears. NNTR was provided support for wildlife management with water tankers, solar water pumps during summers and ex-gratia to casual labour who lost their lives during protection work of the PAs.
The conflict division has three specialized and equipped Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to address the growing human-wildlife conflict. Within a short span of two years, the units have addressed more than fifty conflict cases in the region. To reduce anthropogenic threats to the connectivity corridor in NNTR, WTI has been working with communities residing in the corridor area since 2011, covering 54 priority villages. Installing 4895 Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in 52 villages to reduce fuelwood consumption and training 694 villagers of 37 villages on the manufacturing of ICS. Improving livelihood opportunities, people from 27 villages, majorly women. WTI has also initiated awareness programmes for children and villagers to reduce Human Wildlife Conflict and their greater involvement in nature conservation.