Madhya Pradesh forest department has planted 70 indigenous plant species, become the first in country to radio tag Pangolins, earned the title of Tiger state with highest number of tigers, revived population of vultures and state animal Barasingha.
However, with these success stories, there is another side where MP has lost 10 tigers during lockdown. Further, due to heritage fest in March, many vultures lost their homes and some even lives.
A recent study found that an alarming 43% of the area, where tiger breeding occurs, and 57% of the tiger conservation landscapes are within 5 km distance of a road, thus increasing the negative impacts on tigers and their prey.
The study cited threat to Tigers in Panna. Not much after, this week, a video of a man coming face to face with a tiger outside the reserve went viral.
There are many flora and fauna initiatives, which bring hope for the state’s future. On International Day for Biological Diversity that aims to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues, we bring some positive changes seen in flora and fauna of MP.
However, we must remember that this is just the beginning. MP still a long way to go conserve its flora and fauna, which requires persistent efforts.
Threatened Flora of MP
About 32 species of plants in Madhya Pradesh that are rare and threatened. Madhya Pradesh have 32 varieties of such plants like Gondi (Cordia sinensis), Kuchla (Strychnos nux-vomica), Udaal (Sterculia villosa), Rohida (Tecomella undulata), among others that are rare and on the verge of extinction. The extinction of these species will also have an adverse effect even on climate change and increase global warming.
About 8 mammals, 4 bird species, 3 reptiles and 4 insect species that are native to Madhya Pradesh are now endangered. These animals include various well-known mammals like Tiger and Leopard and many such less-talked about yet essential mammals like Gaur (Indian Bison) and Bengal Fox.
Among birds, Lesser Florican, Green Munia, Great Indian Buster and Forest Owelet are endangered species. Owelet and others are only found in Central India in the world.
State Animal: Barasingha reviving after 5 decades
Hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha or Rucervus duvaucelii), which is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh, is finally reviving its population again in Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR). The state animal was close to extinction for a long time for about five decades.
Finally, the population of this unique and charming species is now up to 800.
In 1967, the numbers of swamp deer decreased to 66 due to rampant hunting, habitat loss and diseases. The number was estimated at around 551 in 1953.
Various conservation methods were used, including habitat improvement and captive breeding that led to an increase in the population to around 450 in 2015. In 2020, the population has finally come up to 800, as confirmed by forest officials.
Reviving indigenous species of Bamboo
Madhya Pradesh Forest Department in 2019 planted 70 lakh saplings of threatened tree species in a bid to revive biodiversity, support livelihoods and combat climate change. This includes revival of those species which are indigenous and were lost during the British-era. The era focused on high-value timber, which threatened the survival of these indigenous species.
In 2019, Madhya Pradesh Forest Department planted 70 lakh saplings of indigenous species to combat climate change, support livelihoods. In 2020, Forest Department has planned to plant bamboo in an area of 4,000 hectares in the year 2020. This area includes 2400 hectare forest area and 1600 hectare private land of farmers.
As many 17 lakh 56 thousand bamboo saplings will be planted in the state in this financial year, on which an amount of about Rs 25 crore will be spent under MP Bamboo Mission.
MP led the way in conservation of the species with world’s first radio-tagged Indian pangolins. Forest officials tagged two pangolins rescued from poachers and has rehabilitated them in Satpura Tiger Reserve in Hoshangabad and is successfully monitoring them for the last three months now.
Globally, pangolins have seen a rapid reduction in population. The projected population declines range from 50 percent to 80 percent.
Pangolins are listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. They are threatened and have equal protection like tigers, are most trafficked mammals for their scales.