The “controversial” Ken-Betwa river-linking project proposed in poverty-ridden Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh has found its first victim in Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), robbing the national park o
The “controversial” Ken-Betwa river-linking project proposed in poverty-ridden Bundelkhand region in Madhya Pradesh has found its first victim in Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), robbing the national park of its first inmate, a 3-year-old female big cat.
A 3-year-old tigress was tranquillised and translocated from PTR to Satpura national park on Saturday as it was difficult to manage the big cat because of low-density forest in the buffer zone, a press release by field director of PTR Vivek Jain said on Monday.
The river-linking project, which got clearance from the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) on August 23, though, envisaged submergence of only small area of 4141 hectares, habitat to one tigress and her cub. Environmentalists apprehended that there would relocation of big cats from PTR in future. PTR is currently home to 35 tigers.
“The river-linking project envisages submergence of 90 sq km forested area having 8.2 lakh trees. If shrinking forest has been assigned the reason for translocation of tigress from PTR, then many more tigers in PTR may have to be relocated when the project comes to implementation stage,” environmentalist Pankaj Chaturvedy said.
What worried the conservationists most is that Satpura national park is notorious for poaching of big cats. Two radio-collared tigers were killed in Satpura national park in 2015 by an international wildlife trafficking gang to extract oil from their fat for its use as aphrodisiac.
The Rs 9393 crore project proposes to ensure drinking water supply to 13,42 lakh people in drought-probe Bundelkhand region besides covering 6.75 lakh hectares under irrigation.
Interestingly, the UPA government had denied environmental clearance to the project.