Valmiki Tiger Project report India

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VALMIKI TIGER RESERVEFrom the Project Tiger Status Report, 2001 FOR INFORMATION ONLYIssued by the Ministry of Environment and ForestsDownloaded from www.sanctuaryasia.comValmiki Tiger ReserveIntroduction Valmiki Tiger Reserve is located in the northernmost part of the West Champaran district of the Indian state of Bihar. The tract is broken and undulating, often showing highly fragile geological formations. As a result, there are steep ravines, knife-edge ridges and precipitous walls formed by landslips and soil erosion. The great Gandak and the Masan rivers collect all the water from the numerous, tortuous tributaries. These rivers and streams keep changing course from side to side, facilitated by the erosion-prone sandy and immature soil of the banks. Seasonal rivers like Panchanad, Manor, Bhapsa and Kapan display the peculiar behaviour of erosion at one place and deposition of transported soil at another place.The hill system is a continuation of the Shiwalik Range, largely made of imperfectly compacted and ill-formed sandstone dotted with pebbles and boulders. Owing to the fragile nature of the parent rock material, the soil produced at the foothill is immature, loose sand and display sheet. The menace is further aggravated by maltreatment of the forests by people in general, frequent fires and heavy grazing.Conservation HistoryValmiki is the 18th Tiger Reserve of the country and the second in Bihar. The core area of the Reserve was declared as a National Park in 1989. Government of Bihar had notified 464.60 sq. km. area as Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary in 1978. Later on, in 1990, an area of 419.18 sq. km. was added to the Sanctuary. Thus, the Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary embraces a total area of 880.78 sq. km.Archaeological RichnessLauriya Nanadan Garh: There is lion pillar of Ashoka, which is a single block of polished sand stone, 32-9.5 in height with a diameter of 35.5 at the base and 26.2 at the top. The pillar is over 2000 years old and in excellent condition. Nandan Garh is a huge mound composed of bricks and is about 80 feet high. According to an authoritative source, it is an Ashoka Stupa in which ashes of Lord Buddhas funeral pyre are enshrined.Bawan Garhi: A name meaning 52 forts. It is also known as Tripan Bazar. The remains of 52 forts and Tripan Bazar are at Darubari.Someshwer Fort: Someshwar Fort is situated in the Narkatiagani sub-division, near the Nepal border, on top of the Someshwar hill at 2884 ft. above msl. It is in a ruined state but its remains are well defined.Triveni: A holy place of the Hindus. The name is derived from the fact that three rivers (Gandak, Sonha and Pachanad) merge here soon after they emerge from the hills. Triveni is also believed to be the site at which the fight commenced between the Lords of Forest and Water (the Elephant and Crocodile).Forest TypesBhabar Dun Sal Forest 3C/C2/b(I)Dry Shiwalik Sal Forest 5B/C1/aWest Gangetic Moist Mixed Deciduous Forest 3C/C3/aKhair - Sissoo Forest 1S/2Cane Brakes 1B/E(I)Eastern Wet Alluvial Grassland 4D/2S2Barringtonia Swamp Forest 4D/SS2Main FloraSal Shorea robusta, asan, karama, semal, khair, cane Calamus tenuis, jamun, siccharrum, mahulan, piper, lagun (peepar)Main FaunaTiger, leopard, fishing cat, leopard cat, chital, sambar, hog deer, blackbuck, gaur, sloth bear, langur, Rhesus monkey ManagementSince the creation of the Tiger Reserve, not much has been done in the field of development. There has been some improvement in infrastructure. In the present scenario, when there is no fund for protection, development, anti-poaching, payment of staff salaries etc., it is really very difficult to manage the Reserve smoothly.Protection/ Patrolling SquadsGovernment of India has cleared the scheme of a patrolling squad of B.M.P./Para-Military Force. Government of Bihar has sanctioned and purchased arms and ammunition. The Force would soon be deployed.Village Forest Protection CommitteesVillage Forest Protection Committees are working effectively, particularly in Madanpur and Harnatand forest ranges.Eco-developmentEco-development activities were initiated in the Reserve in 1997-98. Activities such as distribution of fruit-bearing plants, installation of hand pumps, construction of ponds, shed, irrigation channel were undertaken. Eco-awareness programmes were conducted. The response of the villagers has been overwhelming. The inhabitants of some of the villages are coming forward voluntarily to assist forest staff in the protection of forest as well as in developmental activities.Education and AwarenessEco-awareness programmes have been organised. Awareness material is being distributed.Control of Buffer Whole buffer area is under the control of the management.ConstraintsStaff Of the 97 sanctioned posts of foresters and forest guards, 45 posts are lying vacant.Funds Due to temporary sanction of the project circle and divisions, annual sanction is required every year. This hampers work in the Reserve. Delays in clearance of the scheme are a regular feature.Infrastructure: At present, the infrastructure is inadequate. Grazing: Grazing is alarmingly high in the Reserve but less so in the core area. Fire Fire is rare in the core area. Buffer area is highly sensitive to fire. The graziers are responsible for most of the incidents of fire. There is no reported case of natural fire. Madanpur range is the most sensitive zone because of its extensive grasslands and a thickly populated village on the fringe of the forests. Fires take place generally between mid-February to June end.Poaching of fauna and FloraThere is no poaching in the core area. There is occasional poaching in the buffer area. However, since the northern and western boundaries of the Reserve lie along Nepal and Uttar Pradesh respectively, there is a serious problem of illegal felling and smuggling of teak and cane from Madanpur block of the Reserve to different parts of Nepal e.g. Susta, Ratanganj and Rani Nagar. Armed gangs settled in Nepal are involved in this illicit felling. Human PopulationNil in the core. There are around 81,000 people living in the 142 villages situated on the fringe of the Reserve. Growth rate is not alarming.Livestock PopulationNil in the core. There are around 60,000 livestock heads in and around the Reserve causing severe damage to the flora. Most of them are unproductive. The growth rate is very high.Criminals and ExtremistsSince Valmiki Tiger Reserve is contiguous with both the international boundary and the inter-state boundary, it is infested with hundreds of armed dacoits. They are involved in the felling and smuggling of khair and cane. The role of police in Bihar has always been dubious in illicit felling of trees. On numbers of occasions, their connivance with criminals has been detected in felling of trees in the forest. These cases have been brought to the notice of higher officials including the Home Secretary of Bihar. There is a need for a dedicated police force at the disposal of the Field Director to meet the challenge.Highways: NoneDiseases: Herbivores are highly susceptible to iodine deficiency disease, goitre and Foot and Mouth disease.Encroachment: NilOthersBoundary Demarcation: There is no clear demarcation of boundary on the ground of Core and Buffer zone.Rights and Privileges: Altogether, there are 42 villages where rights in respect of Harsingha (for plough) and Gharsingha (for construction of house), collection of fuel wood and grazing have been admitted by the Forest Settlement Officer at the time of notification of forests as P.F.s. Besides these, there are 91 villages which avail these concessions though their claims were not examined by the Forest Settlement Officer. Another group of 52 villages also dot the forested tract in which Forest Settlement Officer did not admit rights though in some cases some privileges were allowed. These concessions, however, are to be met from the Jahrta-parta [fallen material lying on the floor of the forest measuring up to 3 girth (over bark)]. Green trees are not to be felled for meeting the right holders' demand.Rail-cum-Road Bridge: Due to the construction of Baghva-Chitauni Rail-cum-Road Link Bridge, the natural flow of Rohua and Kotaraihya streams were blocked and 1691 ha. of forest land has been inundated. This lead to 15000 trees dying in the Madanpur block in the buffer of the Reserve.Mining/Extraction of Bolder: Government of India has given conditional clearance for three mining leases after imposing seventeen conditions. The leaseholders do not fulfill any of the imposed conditions. Therefore, Government of India should reconsider cancellation of these mining leases.ConflictsMan-AnimalThere is no perceptible man and animal conflict. Occasionally, nilgai and other herbivores raid crops but this problem is not very serious.Man-ForestPeople in the region earn enough to survive for about six months in a year. Due to a lack of employment opportunity, they rely on forest resources for survival. There is need to generate employment for 20000 people for six months every year to minimise the pressure on the Reserve. Action Points Declaration of permanent Project Circle and Divisions. Streamlining the fund release. Sufficient funds for protection and development. Deployment of paramilitary force. Employment opportunities for people in and around the Reserve.TourismThere is negligible tourism in the Reserve due to law and order problems though there is vast scope for tourism. General InformationArea: 840.26 sq. km.Core: 335.64 sq. km.Buffer: 504.62 sq. km.Longitude: 83(0 East to 84(41 EastLatitude: 27(3 North to 27010 NorthAltitude: 125 m. to 880 m. above M.S.L.Rainfall: 1461.2 mm to 2053.3 mmTemperature: Minimum: 80 C Maximum: 360CSeasons Summer: March to JuneRainy: July to SeptemberWinter: November to FebruaryCensusYear1997Tiger53Leopard54