The Maharashtra forest department is considering translocation of four tigresses from Brahmapuri and Chandrapur ranges to Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) to improve big cat population in the reserve, an official said on Thursday.
The population of big cats in Brahmapuri and Chandrapur has exceeded causing man-animal conflict in the two forest ranges, he said.
A three-member team of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had visited the NNTR, spread across 653 sq km area in Gondia and Bhandara districts, to study the habitat, diversity, prey base, corridor area, etc, the official said.
The study, which began a month ago, is expected to go on for next five to six months as the WII is also going to monitor the success of the translocation if it is carried out, deputy director Pavan Jephe said.
As of now, the presence of only eight tigers has been recorded at the NNTR, which is insufficient, as the minimum carrying capacity of the park is at least of 25, it was stated.
"We have more than 100 leopards per hundred sq km and frequent sightings of leopards are recorded in the park compared to tigers. The tiger population has remained the same for the last 10 to 12 years. The translocation will help increase the population of big cats," Jephe said.
The reserve's habitat is good and in the past few years the management has developed good grassland in the relocated villages of Kalimati, Kawlevada and Zhankargondi, which are now part of the NNTR, he said.
Tiger is considered as the apex specie and a good tiger population is an indication that the reserve also has a good number of other species, Jephe added. PTi