Adilabad: The tiger corridor linking the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra and the Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) spread over Adilabad, Nirmal, Mancherial and Kumram Bheem Asifabad districts in Telangana is buzzing with activity two years after the first big cat from the neighbouring State was noticed in the forest of the inter-State boundary. A three-year-old male sub-adult from the TWS has crossed the Penganga river somewhere in Bheempur mandal and is assumed to be heading towards the KTR which has come as a happy augury.
The sub-adult has been identified as Gabbar of Pilkhan family in the TWS by S Ajinder Singh, a wildlife photographer from Adilabad. The big cat was first noticed a fortnight ago, thanks to a camera trap image, after it killed a bullock in the Ambadi forest of Kinwat.
According to those who are watching the developments closely, the tiger must have reached the Penganga Wildlife Sanctuary (PWS), which is located not far from its last known location in the Kinwat highlands. They also expected a struggle between Gabbar and the resident male in the PWS for territory.
“The loser will come out of the PWS and will naturally head south through the corridor towards Kawal,” Singh guessed. “The losing tiger may already be on its way in the corridor given the lapse of over 10 days since Gabbar was last seen and the fact that no tiger was seen in the PWS during this period,” he added.
This argument makes it imminent for the KTR management and the Forest Department, in general, to monitor the advancement of the big cat through the Telangana forest to offer it a safe passage into the reserve. It could become a resident of the place given the excellent conditions available for the purpose.
The TWS is a small park spread over just 141 sqkm in Pandharkawda tahsil, located close to the NH 44 and about 35 km from Adilabad town. The place is, however, teeming with tigers with the present population estimated to be around 17.
As a result of a meeting of forest officials from both the States held in Adilabad in February 2021, the corridor in question was recognised as a highly potential and comparative safer area for TWS tigers to migrate towards Kawal, which offers a safe habitat as it is spread over 2,000 sqkm (893 sqkm of core and 1,120 sqkm of buffer area) of bamboo mixed miscellaneous and dry deciduous forests. The corridor, which passes through the forests of Bheempur, Talamadugu, Kinwat (in Nanded district of Maharashtra), Boath and Ajjar Wajjar had already been visited by a male tiger christened Walker (aka T1C1) in 2019 which created history by walking over 1,300 km (3,000 km eventually) in search of a territory of its own.
Walker had ambled through the forests of Kinwat, Boath, Sarangapur and Kuntala in Nirmal districts along the margins of the KTR buffer area but did not take a left turn to enter the Kawal Reserve. It is known to have gone back the same way it had come.
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