Madhya Pradesh to put more emphasis on wildlife tourism and plans to create 11 more protected areas
Madhya Pradesh ranks first in the country with 526 tigers according to the results of the All India Tiger assessment reported on July 29, 2019.
Sustained tiger conservation efforts have paid off in Madhya Pradesh, where the big cat population has registered a healthy increase of 218 in four years, from 308 tigers in 2014 to 526 in the 2018 census. has six tiger reserves (combining parts of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries) namely Kanha, Pench, Satpura, Bandhavgarh, Panna and Sanjay.
The state also plans to create around 11 other protected areas within the state from the current number of 24 wildlife sanctuaries and 11 national parks. The new areas, covering more than 2,100 km², represent perhaps the largest addition of protected areas attempted by a state in the past three decades.
According to Faiz Ahmed Kidwai (IAS), Secretary of Tourism for the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Managing Director of the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, “Madhya Pradesh is considered to be the wildlife state of India with many sanctuaries and reserves. At a time when the number of many animal species is dwindling, Madhya Pradesh has played a central role in Indian wildlife conservation programs. As World Wildlife Day approaches on March 3, we would like to reiterate our commitment to protect endangered wildlife, especially tigers, through a scientific, planned and people-centered approach, with strict enforcement guidelines and team support.
“From preserving the tiger population in the state with the largest population of leopards, vultures and gharials (an ‘endemic’ crocodile species) to the successful increase in the population of Barasingha (a swamp deer) hard ground), Madhya Pradesh has come a long way in protecting the natural order and habitat of animals. It has implemented many important conservation policies and ensured a crackdown on poaching, ”he added.
Six of Madhya Pradesh’s 11 national parks are also part of the Tiger Project, a conservation program started in 1973 by the central government when the number of tigers had declined so much that it was feared that the big cat was in danger of extinction. The government had sanctioned Rs 92 crores specifically to promote the wildlife tour in Mukundpur, Bandhavgarh and Pench in 2015-16.