Bhopal, Aug 16, 2019. In 2009, as a homesick T3 meandered almost 442 km to return to the Pench Tiger Reserve, its former home, large numbers of locals helped bring the male tiger back to the Panna Tiger Reserve, where it had been trans-located.
Foresters tracked T3’s movement using radio collar signals, locals alerted other villagers living along the trail, temporarily cut off power supply to wire fences around fields, and identified some common abodes and caves where the tiger could take shelter.
A sense of ownership had taken over them, following a meeting with the Forest Department on November 5, 2009. Scores of villagers came out to accompany 70 foresters and four elephants to ensure T3 returned to the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), where tigers had gone extinct by the beginning of that year.
Today, PTR’s tigers occupy a range from the Narmada to the Son Rivers, having established themselves in the Satpura and Sanjay Tiger Reserve as well.
Pardhi and Baheliya villagers were trained as guides and made aware of tiger conservation, said KS Bhadoria, PTR’s current director. One member from each village household is a part of one of seven groups, and they take turns to patrol the reserve with the forest personnel.
According to the results of the tiger census declared on July 29, Madhya Pradesh has topped the country with 526 tigers.