Raipur : Three tiger habitats in Chhattisgarh have been brought under Project Tiger by the central government which will provide extra funds for conservation of the big cats that are fast disappearing in India.
“The habitats – Achanakmar, Sitanadi, and Udanti – have been included in Project Tiger and the central government has formally informed the state government,” Forest Minister Brijmohan Agrawal told IANS.
“The state government will have to develop better facilities and mechanisms to nurture the big cats and increase their numbers in their natural environment, with extra funds to be received from the Indian government under Project Tiger,” he said.
Achanakmar in Bilaspur district is spread over 550 sq km, Sitanadi in Dhamtari district over 553 sq km, and Udanti in Raipur district over for 237 sq km.
Forest officials say Achanakmar has over 12 big cats while Sitanadi has three and Udanti has 11. Chhattisgarh’s Indravati National Park in Bijapur has been getting funds for tiger conservation since 1984 when it was included in Project Tiger.
The Indian government had launched Project Tiger, a major wildlife conservation initiative, in 1973 to save the Indian tiger from extinction.
About 44 percent of Chhattisgarh is under forest cover, amounting to 12 percent of the forests in the entire country. The state has three national parks and 11 wildlife sanctuaries.
India has half the world’s surviving tigers, but conservationists say the country is fast losing the battle to save the big cats. There were about 40,000 tigers in India a century ago, but decades of poaching have cut their number to 3,700.