Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Madhya Pradesh (MP) was included in the global network of biosphere reserves by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) last week.
The tiger reserve which once witnessed the disappearing tiger population has now been given this status as it took major steps towards conservation.
According to the United Nations ( UN), a biosphere reserve is where the international agency tries to reconcile the differences between human activity and the preservation of biodiversity. Every year some are given the status of Biosphere reserves by UNESCO, while others are removed.
Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar congratulated the reserve for the status which they've received on Twitter.
The Panna 'National Park' was initially set up in 1981. It received the status of a tiger reserve in the early 1990s when the "Project Tiger" was started and gradually the population of tigers started increasing. The reserve managed to grow 40 tigers by the early 2000s.
However, with incidents of poaching that happened in 2009, the population started to dwindle. After the forest officials faced criticism, it started taking all necessary steps to conserve the tiger population. With the help of many local and non-profit organisations, it even started tiger reintroduction programmes.
As a result of the efforts taken in this direction, the reserve is now home to 54 tigers.
The UNESCO's recognition has mentioned PTR as a critical tiger habitat. Further, UNESCO stated that the area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration.
Also, the main source of income in the area is agriculture is together with horticulture, forestry and cultural and eco-tourism.
The principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), Alok Kumar shared that PTR was notified as a biosphere reserve by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) in 2011. After a period of nine years, UNESCO has now also included it in the Man and Biosphere Programme.
He further marked it as a proud moment for the state. He appreciated the efforts of the Madhya Pradesh forest department that has done put in crucial efforts hard work to create a conducive environment through which the population of tigers can be increased.
"The forest department had reintroduced a male and a female tiger in 2009 and within a decade the animal's population increased to over 50," Kumar said as reported by Hindustan Times
He also stressed that local villages played a crucial role in conservation. Panna Nature Club authorities tried to sensitize local villagers about vegetation and wildlife. The villagers coordinated for the conservation efforts and responded positively
However, Kumar also expressed his concern about the poaching incident that took place in the reserve.