After worker’s death, forest dept begins work on translocating tigers from Chandrapur thermal station area

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TAKING cognisance of cases of tiger-human conflict in Chandrapur, the state forest department has begun work on translocating tigers from the conflict zone. A translocation plan will be ready by next week, said a forest department official.

After a contractual worker of the Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS) was killed in a tiger attack earlier this week, locals and workers staged a protest demanding mitigation measures to be implemented.

The worker was attacked by the tiger when he was on his way home on a bicycle around 10:30 pm on Wednesday. Following the attack, the forest department intensified patrolling in the area and installed camera traps to identify the animal behind the attack.

In the wake of rising conflict and sightings of tigers in the thermal plant premises, an 11-member technical study group constituted by the State Board for Wildlife had recommended the removal of tigers from Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) and CSTPS premises. Around five to six tigers are said to have made the areas their home over the last five years.

Tigers have consistently been spotted and found breeding in these areas, leading to high number of human-tiger interactions and sightings. According to experts, shrinking forest cover is the reason behind the movement and presence of tigers in power plant areas.

Sunil Limaye, principal conservator of forest (wildlife), confirmed that the tigers will be translocated and a plan for the same will be finalised by next week.
This is the third attack on thermal power plant premises in the last three months. However, it is the first time that the attack has resulted in the death of a person.

Chandrapur district alone accounts for 200 of Maharashtra’s 311 tigers.

As many as 10,000 people — employees and their families — work and reside in the power station area. CSTPS is connected to the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) through a corridor of coal mines that are thickly covered with Prosopis plant species and provide a hiding place for the tigers. The area also provides a prey base — of cattle and wild boars — a thick tree cover and a nullah that suffices the basic needs of the tiger population.

The proximity between tigers and humans has led to the Chandrapur district becoming a virtual hotspot for human-tiger conflict in the country. An 11-member committee was formed during the 15th SBWL meeting held on August 7, 2020 to suggest plans to reduce human-tiger conflict in the district.

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