Mumbai/New Delhi, July 1: Spelling cheer for tiger lovers, the union environment and forests ministry on Tuesday notified the Bor Sanctuary, New Bor Sanctuary and the New Bor Extended Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra as a critical tiger reserve, the sixth tiger sanctuary in the state.
The announcement was made by Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi.
The Bor sanctuary in Wardha district is the sixth after the existing tiger sanctuaries in Tadoba, Melghat, Pench, Sahyadri and Nagzira, and the 47th in the country.
"Bor is the 47th tiger reserve in the country and the sixth tiger reserve of Maharashtra. With Project Tiger coverage, the reserve would receive funding and technical support which would strengthen tiger conservation, besides eco-development to benefit fringe people," Javadekar's office said.
"This is indeed great news for all animal lovers in the country. With Bor, Maharashtra will have the distinction of getting the largest number of tiger sanctuaries in the country," an excited D. Stalin, projects director of Vanashakti, a wildlife NGO working in tiger corridors conservation, told IANS.
The proposal for declaring Bor as a tiger reserve was sent by the Maharashtra government and was granted approval by Javadekar, who is also chairman of the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
Bor comprises an area of 13,812 hectares and includes the Bor Sanctuary, New Bor Sanctuary and New Bor Extended Wildlife Sanctuary.
Rich in biodiversity with a wide variety of flora and fauna, including tigers, co-predators, prey animals and birds, the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary was notifed by the state government in 1970.
The scenic area is bounded by Nagpur and Wardha districts in the Satpura-Maikal landscape which also forms the catchment area for the Bor river here.
The sanctuary has also functioned as an important corridor between Tadoba-Andhari and Pench tiger reserves.
With the new status, Bor would receive funding and technical support that would strengthen tiger conservation besides eco-development to benefit the people living on its fringes.
Presently, there are an estimated 100 tigers in the wild in these protected sanctuaries and a similar number outside the reserves, but there is no record of the latter, said Vanashakti's project officer Ashwin Aghor.
He said there were around 1,500 tigers in India in all the 47 protected reserves and the latest addition of Bor would boost conservation efforts for this magnificent big cat.