Madhya Pradesh, which is home to the most number of tigers in the country, has got a new protected area for the big cats named ‘Veerangana Durgavati Tiger Reserve’, the seventh in the state, an official said.
MP retained the “tiger state” status in the 2022 census with the number of big cats in the state rising to 785 from 526 in 2018.
Various areas under Veerangana Durgavati Tiger Reserve have been notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with a view to ensuring the conservation of wild animals, an official said.
Until now, MP was home to six tiger reserves – Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Satpura, Pench, Panna and Sanjay-Dubri.
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The official said that in compliance with the condition imposed by the Centre while giving approval to the Ken-Betwa River Link Project, the new tiger reserve, spread across Sagar, Damoh and Narsinghpur districts, has been notified.
Veerangana Durgavati Tiger Reserve has become the seventh tiger reserve of Madhya Pradesh. About 1,414 square kilometres in the tiger reserve has been included in the core area and 925.12 square kilometres in the buffer zone, the official said.
The previously notified eco-sensitive zone of Nauradehi and Veerangana Durgavati sanctuaries and the surrounding forest areas have been included in the notified buffer area, he said.
Since no new revenue area has been included under this tiger reserve, no additional restrictions will be imposed on the local people living around it. The areas including this tiger reserve are already notified as sanctuary or eco-sensitive areas, the official added.
As per the report ‘Status of Tigers: Co-predators & Prey in India-2022’, released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India in July this year, MP (785) has the highest number of tigers in the country, followed by Karnataka (563) and Uttarakhand (560).