:: Friday, March 25, 2005 ::

Mao Meow

Now here is a story you probably won't see on Wildlife on One.

Chhattisgarh Maoists befriend tigers! : HindustanTimes.com: "The tiger may be facing serious danger in some parts of India but it seems to be on safe ground in Chhattisgarh, thanks to Maoist guerrillas.

The Indravati tiger project, spread over 1,200 sq km in Dantewada district, is a stronghold of the Maoists, who have become the big cat's saviour. The fear of the rebels not only keeps forest officials but also poachers away from the reserve.

Officials said that ever since Chhattisgarh was formed in November 2000, forest guards and visitors have largely kept away from the park, bordering Andhra Pradesh, another Maoist stronghold, and Maharashtra.

If they do go to the park, it is only with the guerrillas' permission.

A Maoist leader explained the situation. 'We take extreme care of the wildlife. No poachers - whatever be their political or international connections - can dream of sneaking into Indravati,' boasted the leader, known by his nom de guerre Selva.

'We, however, do allow forest officials to enter on rare occasions,' he added.

In the past six months, forest guards have stepped into the park only once - in February.

Officials said they had to satisfy the guerrillas that they had been asked to do a tiger census for the forest department.

'The number of tigers in Indravati is going up every year. We counted 29 tigers in 2002, 35 in 2003 and 39 last year,' Rakesh Kumar Sharma, the additional principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), told the agency."

:: Alister | 10:17 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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