Nagpur: The Government of Maharashtra has effectively doubled the area of Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) and Nawegaon National Park, by notifying ‘New Nagzira WLS’ and ‘Nawegaon WLS’, strengthening the case for the creation of the proposed Nagzira-Nawegaon Tiger Reserve.
Nagzira WLS, Nawegaon NP and two new protected areas are parts of the vital Nagzira-Nawegaon tiger corridor in the central India tiger landscape, which further Kanha Tiger Reserve to Tadoba–Andhari Tiger Reserve.
The notification of New Nagzira WLS has added 152 sq kms to the north-east and south-west of the existing Nagzira WLS. Likewise Nawegaon WLS adds 122 sq km to the east, north–west and south of the Nawegaon NP. Additionally the government has notified about 60 sq km area adjoining existing Bor WLS as new Bor Sanctuary, and renotified about 2 sq km of the total area earlier denotified from the Nannaj (Bustard) Sanctuary.
Prafulla Bhambhurkar, Manager, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), who has been working in the central India tiger landscape for the past three decades, is delighted with this development. Instrumental in the recent notification of the Mansinhdeo WLS, Bhamburkar feels that the conversion of these forests to PAs will keep wildlife on high priority while planning management of the area.
“With this notification the total area for wildlife in Nagzira – Nawegaon has increased from 285 sq kms to 559 sq kms,” he says. “This important decision will aid in our objective of securing the most crucial corridor to maintain north-south continuity in central Indian landscape forever, and in the creation of the proposed Nagzira-Nawegaon Tiger Reserve.”
This expansion and the Mansingh Deo notification will go a long way in tiger conservation in the region, feels Aditya Joshi, Field Officer, WTI.
“Tigers are wide-ranging animals and require large inviolate areas with good prey-base for healthy populations to survive and breed,” he says. “PAs, with limited area, can hold only some individuals. Landscape linkages like this act as conduits that connect disjunct populations and thus mitigate the negative effects of fragmentation by providing functional connectivity to these endangered cats and accommodate dispersing individuals.”
The extension also brings the boundary of the PA in contact with NH-6, which cuts across the Nagzira – Nawegaon corridor affecting crucial wildlife connectivity.
“This additionally strengthens the case against the National Highway Authority of India, which has been trying to expand the NH6 to four-lanes, despite increasing threats to the tiger among other wildlife using this corridor,” said Bhamburkar.
WTI, with the support of the Japan Tiger and Elephant Fund (JTEF) has worked for the last six years. These activities included research to gather data to help authorities support a strong case to form a TR here, as well as against the expansion of NH6. Additionally activities facilitating green livelihood and reducing dependence of locals living around Nagzira-Nawegaon tiger corridor are also being carried out. With support from IUCN Netherlands, this will further strengthen the conservation initiatives in the region.