Headlines India
Latest Online India News Update Volume-VIII India News
Home » State News » Goa
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 (10:57:40)
Tags : Goa News, Jairam Ramesh, Digambar Kamat, Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa, Goa Wildlife, Green activists in Goa, Goa's Forests

Goa activists happy with Jairam's tiger reserve initiative

 Email Story  Write to the editor  Print Story
Panaji, June 29: Green activists in Goa have welcomed Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's initiative in asking the state government for a proposal to upgrade the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary to a tiger reserve.

"It's very heartening to hear that the centre wants the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary to be upgraded to a tiger reserve. All our hardwork has paid off. The tiger will now officially rule the jungle in Goa," environmental activist Tallulah D'Silva told the media.

In a letter addressed to Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Ramesh said there was "evidence to show that tigers in Goa are not merely transient animals but are a resident population as well".

He has asked Kamat to expeditiously submit a proposal to the environment ministry for setting up of Goa's only tiger sanctuary.

Tallulah, along with several other green activists, had started a signature campaign canvassing for the setting up of a tiger reserve in the state.

"Over 300 people had signed our memorandum which we had submitted to the PMO (Prime Minister's Office). We will now follow up with the state forest department to ensure that this tiger reserve dream comes true," she said.

According to Arti D., another activist, Ramesh's initiative was "one step forward in promoting tiger habitat in Goa".

"Now there is a dire need to pressurise the state government to send a proposal to declare Mhadei as a tiger habitat," she said.

Until a tiger was poached two years back in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary, principal chief conservator of forests Shashi Kumar had steadfastly denied the existence of Goa being a tiger habitat.

According to anti-mining activist Ramesh Gauns, declaration of a tiger reserve in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary would affect the open cast iron ore mining industry in the vicinity.

"One of the reasons why the forest department was not interested in pursuing the tiger poaching case is because if the Sattari area is declared a tiger reserve, mining companies will have to bid goodbye to the 81 mining leases located nearby," Gauns said.

Wildlife expert Rajendra Kerkar, who has been campaigning for the setting up of tiger reserve in Goa for the last 20 years, said mining is the real reason why the tiger has never been officially allowed to "surface" in Goa's forests.

"It is beyond doubt that these forests are a home for tigers. However, if the state's handful sanctuaries are notified as tiger reserves, mining - illegal and legal - around these, carried out with the blessings of the politicians and state administration, would have to cease," he said. (IANS)