The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department officials and in particular those from Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam tiger reserve have much to cheer about. The number of tigers in the reserve has gone up to 67.
NSTR which is the largest tiger reserve in India has been registering a steady increase in the number of tigers located in the Nallamala hill ranges in the State.
Sharing details about the success of Project Tiger with the media, Shanti Priya Pandey, the Chief Conservator of Forests, AP said it was due to several initiatives. These included smart patrolling, creation of camera trap ID photo base of tigers, controlling forest fire effectively, regulating traffic on the highways properly, and creating awareness about the importance of conservation by imparting nature education to the youth through forest clubs.
Apart from this the creation of 60 base camps and making the local Chenchu tribe members become part of the effort to protect the tigers has paid dividends.
Project Tiger has not only ensured an increase in the tiger population but also benefited the local flora and fauna. More than 80 species of mammals, 303 birds, 54 reptiles and 20 amphibians are found here and these include tiger, leopard, wolf, wild dog and jackal.
There are 353 types of medicinal plants and 29 species of grasses too in this region.
NSTR which attained the status of a tiger reserve in 1983, has a total area of 3,737 sq. kilometres which is spread across Prakasam, Nandyal and Palnadu districts of the state. The Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and Gundla Brahmeswaram Wildlife Sanctuary are part of this reserve.