In news- Maharashtra Chief minister directed officials to try and rehabilitate some of the villages on the periphery of the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in order to increase the reserve’s area to accommodate more tigers.
- The TATR is a wildlife sanctuary in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra state.
- It is Maharashtra’s oldest and largest national park.
- ‘Tadoba’ is taken from the name of the god “Tadoba” or “Taru”, worshipped by the tribes who live in the dense forests of the Tadoba and Andhari region, while “Andhari” refers to the Andhari river that meanders through the forest.
- Tadoba Reserve covers the Chimur Hills, and the Andhari sanctuary covers the Moharli and Kolsa ranges.
- The Gond kings once ruled these forests in the vicinity of the Chimur hills.
- Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary was created in the adjacent forests in 1986.
- In 1995, the park and the sanctuary were merged to establish the present tiger reserve.
- Tadoba Lake which acts as a buffer between the park’s forest and the extensive farmland which extends up to Irai water reservoir.
- This lake is a perennial water source which offers a good habitat for Mugger crocodiles to thrive.
- Tadoba Reserve is a predominantly southern tropical dry deciduous forest with dense woodlands comprising about eighty seven per cent of the protected area.
- Bamboo thickets grow throughout the reserve in abundance.
- Aside from the keystone species, the Bengal tiger, TATR is home to Indian leopards, sloth bears, gaur, nilgai, dhole, striped hyena, small Indian civet, jungle cats, sambar, barking deer, chital, chausingha and honey badger.
- Currently, TATR spans across 625 sq km and accommodates about 50 tigers.
- The buffer area around it is 1,127 sq km and has more than 50 tigers.
- Chandrapur district has at least 100 more tigers, making it one of the top tiger-populated districts in the country.
- Hence, the district has been witnessing intense human-wildlife conflict, mainly involving tigers over the past several years.
- Rehabilitating villages in the buffer area on TATR periphery like Karva, Piparheti, Padharwani, Pangdi, Doni, Pahami and Pimparda would make about 40-50 sq km area inviolate and help accommodate more tigers in TATR.