Panna Tiger Reserve declared a UNESCO biosphere reserve

PTR was notified as a biosphere reserve by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) in 2011 and after nine years the UNESCO included it in the Man and Biosphere programme

No tiger death was reported in the first three months of this year, as per the data | Representational image: iStock

Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), which has seen several ups and downs since its establishment in 1981, has been included in the list of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) biosphere reserves.

The UNESCO’s recognition stated that PTR in Madhya Pradesh “has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income together with horticulture, forestry and cultural and eco-tourism.”
In a social media post, Union Minister for environment, forest and climate change Prakash Javdekar congratulated PTR authorities for the achievement.
“PTR was notified as a biosphere reserve by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC ) in 2011. Nine years later, UNESCO included it in the Man and Biosphere programme,” said Alok Kumar, principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), (wildlife), MP.
“It’s a proud moment for us because the MP forest department did a lot of hard work to create a conducive environment in PTR to reintroduce the population of tigers. In 2008, PTR had lost all its tigers,” Kumar said.
“Local villages also played a key role in conservation. Panna Nature Club authorities tried to sensitise local villagers about PTR’s vegetation and wildlife. The villagers responded in a positive manner and the landscape did not report a single man-animal conflict through the years.”

In 2008, after more than a decade of it becoming a tiger reserve in 1994, the number of tigers in the reserve had fallen from 40 to zero, primarily due to poaching. Due to concerted efforts by officials, conservationists and locals, however, the situation was turned around. The Tiger Reintroducion Project in 2009, in which a male and a female tiger were reintroduced, led to the number of tigers increasing to 52 within 10 years.

Despite the success of PTR, the problem of poaching remains.

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The new list of UNESCo biosphere reserves includes sites in Maldives, Mongolia, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

The other Indian reserves recognised by UNESCO as global bioreserves are Nilgiri, Gulf of Mannar, Sunderban, Nanda Devi, Nokrek, Pachmarhi, Similipal, Achanakmar-Amarkantak, Great Nicobar, Agasthyamala, and Khangchendzonga.

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