JOINING THE WILD BETWEEN TELANGANA AND MAHASHTRA
In the context of wildlife conservation, the term corridor means a connection or link between two potential clinches, monopoly and a grip of wildlife population or habitats.
According to Walker and Craighead, corridors are defined as avenues along which wide range of animals cane move, plants can proliferate and genetic interchange can occur. Threatened species can be refilled from other area; animals can disperse in response to environmental changes and natural disasters. Thus corridors have an immense significance in landscape ecology.
The other important aspects of corridors are the passage of rivers at the state border, harmony in the cultural activities and social life of different tribes which gives the notion about our ancestors and different cultures promulgation from borders and within the states.
In general corridors connect two source populations of wild animals or two core habitat patches. There are two different types of corridors:
1. Continuous Corridors
2. Stepping Stone Corridors
Continuous corridor is an undisturbed habitat from where animals can move with minimum conflicts and in stepping stone the habitat will have excessive developmental pressures where the animal have to tolerate with threats, conflicts and movement.
The major obstacle for any corridor in India is the linear infrastructure like railway track and roads. For example the railway tracks of Bellampalli and Mancherial, Chandrapur and Ballershah have blocked the movement of wild animals and created a lot of human occupations. The other serious threat is from the mining activities by Singareni colleries. For example in Asifabad range at certain important habitat the Singareni Colleries have drilled the forest land for testing the presence of coal. The other unavoidable threat is encroachment. The encroachments are taking place at uncontrollable rate and in one such instance, Itkeyal pahad a local village in Sirpur range where the locals have cleared at least 2 compartments of the forest beat, they were supposed to be from Ada village. Two decades ago due to Ada project in Asifabad range, villagers were relocated but they weren’t given any compensatory land for shelter. So most of them had migrated and cleared vast forest landscape. Poaching and smuggling incidents are regular obstacles in unprotected areas.
When a carnivore moves in the corridor forest more often attack on cattle’s. That will cause the governmental bodies to spend huge amounts of fund to the cattle owners to avoid retaliatory killing of the predators.
The concept of corridors came up with the idea of conserving at a landscape level, targeting the Meta population conservation of charismatic species. Small isolated population of wild animals is prone to the local extinction and long term genetic viability is threatened. Therefore connectivity between two habitats and source population is necessary.
Corridors of Telanagana and Maharashtra
There are four important blocks in Maharashtra which are linked with Telangana forest.
1. Garlapet reserve forest
2. Allapalli reserve forest
3. Sironcha reserve forest
4. Rajura reserve forest
Garlapet reserve forest is present in both Maharashtra and Telangana. Asifabad range and Sirpur ranges are part of Garlapet Reserve Forest and have tremendous potential for the movement of wild animals. The main threat for the forest is from the Sirpur Paper Industry which requires huge extracts of bamboo that are expurgated in bulk quantities and also illegal mining activities. Due to this most areas in Garlapet block can be considered as stepping stone corridors. The main herbivores present in this landscape are Sambar deer, Spotted Deer, Four-horned Antelope and Nilgai. There are always reports of tiger in Garlapet reserve forest block. A part of Asifabad range is in association with the Rajura reserve forest. The main rivers that flow from this block are Wardha and Pedddavagu that unifies in river Pranahitha.
Bejjur reserve forest and Girevali reserve forest blocks which are separated by river Pranahitha are in undulation with the Allapalli reserve forest. Here the forest consists of teak and mixed miscellaneous plant species. The ungulates which are present here are Wild pigs, four horned antelope, spotted deer and nilgai. There were sporadic reports of Tiger and Leopard. Sloth bear is a common inhabitant in these forest blocks.
Both the blocks are separated by river Pranahitha.
Chennor reserve forest block is connected with the Sironcha reserve forest. The landscape main trees are Terminalia, Chloroxylon, Hardwickia species etc. River Pranahitha flows between these two blocks. There are no Sāmbhar deer reported or sighted in this habitat, nilgai population is also less, only wild pig and spotted deer populations are present. Chennor reserve forest can be categorized under stepping stone corridors again.
There should be national level guidelines with state specific suggestion to secure the wildlife corridors. It is not practicable to declare the corridor forest as protect areas, however it is possible to prepare corridor management plan and incorporate specific management measures. The plans should follow simple principles of reducing the threats and engaging stakeholders for securing corridors on long term basis. If the remaining wildlife corridors in India can be secured, it would be a powerful contribution to wildlife conservation in recent times.