Movement of tigers spotted in RTR’s Chilla-Motichur corridor after 2 decades

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The Uttarakhand Forest Department has spotted the movement of a tiger in the Chilla-Motichur corridor of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) after two decades of major wildlife conservation development, a senior official has said. .

A tiger was seen moving from the eastern fringe of Rajaji Tiger Reserve (RTR) to its western fringe forests through the corridor late last month, said Saket Badola, director of the tiger reserve. of Rajaji. Earlier, elephants were seen crossing the Chilla-Motichur corridor. The Ganga River bifurcates RTR into two sections. The east side of the national park is about 250 km² and the rest – 571 km² – is on the west side.

The free passage of wild animals between the eastern and western parts of the reserve has been disrupted due to heavy traffic on the Dehradun-Haridwar highway, an army ammunition depot that has existed since the Indochina war in 1962 and a railway line, apart from the growing population of Haridwar and Raiwala.

To ensure the unrestricted movement of animals, a flyover was proposed on the highway in 2010 by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), but the delay in their completion over the years has halted animal movement. While the eastern area showed a strong presence of tigers, the western one showed a marked decline in the number and presence of tigers. About 35 tigers are present in the eastern part. In the western part, the number dropped to 1, after which the Forest Department transferred two tigers from the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

In 2018, a petition was filed with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) by a Delhi-based lawyer, Gaurav Kumar Bansal. In 2019, NGT asked NHAI to provide 2 crore ‘performance bond’ to Union environment ministry for failing to implement Supreme Court directive on construction of elephant flyover on Chilla-Motichur corridor in Uttarakhand . The flyby was finally completed in September 2021.

The Green Court in its order said that “NHAI’s bureaucratic attitude endangered wildlife and biodiversity on the western side of Rajaji Park as well as tigers, which were threatened with extinction.”

Bansal called the movement of the tiger in the corridor a new breath of fresh air for the RTR ecosystem.

Badola tweeted, “Successes in conservation often take a long time to come, but when they do, they bring rare happiness and real satisfaction. The efforts and hard work of multiple agencies finally paid off when a tiger crossed the Chilla-Motichur corridor after nearly 2 decades. Great day for #RajajiTigerReserve & #Wildlife.

Calling it a milestone for wildlife conservation, Badola said: “The corridor is not only a vital link between the Chilla and Motichur ranges of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve. We have taken several measures for wildlife conservation and they are finally showing results.

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