Hyderabad: Proving that there was still hope for the beleaguered Kawal Tiger Reserve in the erstwhile Adilabad district, a young tigress from Maharashtra’s Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary made it its home.
In the past decade, sources said 15 to 18 tigers migrated south into Kawal and Kagaznagar areas of erstwhile Adilabad from Maharashtra. Some of these tigers came from Tipeshwar sanctuary and the Pandharkawda territorial forest areas to its north in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. The others came from the Kannergaon landscape, also in Maharashtra, and south of the popular Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve.
The tigress is believed to have arrived from Tipeshwar around seven months ago. It ran a gauntlet of several villages, a national highway, other roads as well as open fields to find a territory of its own, which for it was Kawal.
Tigers, when they are around two years old, leave their mothers or are driven away by them and are forced to find and establish their own territories.
One of the primary reasons for declaring the then Kawal Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve in 2012, was to protect its forests so excess and dispersing tigers from the Tadoba-Andhrai Tiger Reserve landscape, Pandharkawda forests and Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary can find a new home.
Sources confirmed to Telangana Today that the identity of the three-year-old tigress, now in Kawal, was established as one that came from Tipeshwar after camera trap images from both places were compared. Currently, in addition to this female tiger, dubbed as the Khanapur female, a male tiger is also reported to be doing the rounds in Kawal.
The settling down of the tigress in Kawal comes as good news for the tiger reserve; especially after Adilabad forests were in the news for all the wrong reasons over the past couple of years. In addition to poaching of at least three tigers and two leopards, there were brazen encroachments of forest land, the latest example being the one in Sarsala village by a mob led by a local politician.
While tigers came regularly from Tipeshwar into Kawal in the past few years, some of them apparently wandered back. “There was one male that bounced around, was a real vagabond and wandered all over the district, even up to Nizamabad and then apparently returned to Maharashtra,” a source said.
It is learnt that the movement of tigers from the Kannergaon forest to Kagaznagar forests in Telangana, meanwhile, declined over the last two years following several disturbances in the forest corridor linking the two areas. In addition to the two tigers in Kawal, a tigress (Phalguna) and her four cubs were in the Kagaznagar area, while the injured K4, from Phalguna’s first litter, made its home in Mancherial and Chennur forest areas.