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Interview highlights with GP Garad, Field Director, CCF Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Interview highlights with GP Garad, Field Director, CCF Tadoba Tiger Reserve

Interview highlights with GP Garad, Field Director, CCF Tadoba Tiger Reserve

GP Garad, Field Director, CCF Tadoba

G. P. Garad. Chief Conservator of Forests and Field Director, Tadoba Tiger Reserve

 

In 2014, he took over the field director of Tadoba as CCF (Chief Conservator of Forest) and never looked back with an amazing track record of Tadoba becoming today one of the most prominent tiger habitat. He was DCF at Nanded before taking over here at Tadoba.

Under him there are two DCF, one each taking care of Core and Buffer. He feels very proud that the animals have been given a wonderful protection in the last few years and he says clearly that it is a combined effort of every officer, every staff member and more importantly all villagers in the surrounding area – because of their wonderful work, this protection of the inhabitants of the forest, animals are freely roaming.

He is very effusive when he talks about how Tadoba has become the top breeding ground for Tigers in the country and also one of the top parks with great sightings of tigers.

He is extremely proud of his team and he says in spite of all talk about tigers when it comes to Tadoba, his department mainly focuses on the locals and that’s where everything starts, be it conservation, be it protection of tigers or any animals for that matter.

There are 79 villages in and around Tadoba and his department has made sure that every house in it is touched by the department – be it providing LPG for houses or constructing toilets, installing solar power, repair of water tanks, training empowering women including providing employment for women, teaching them tailoring, making clothes, making agarbatti, and also have made 6000 families access to potable water, to constructing parapet walls to wells so that animals don’t fall into it, solar fences for farmers and lot more. Because of all these people there are very protective about the tigers and animals over there.

Also he is extremely happy to say that Tadoba is probably the only Tiger Reserve in the entire country which offers free safari ride for kids from surrounding villages & towns teaching them the importance of the forest, animals and in general value of conservation. These kids are picked from the school, take them inside the forest on a safari, snacks provided, and apart from this Tee-shirts are given to every kid by Hon.Forest minister. and then dropped back to the school. Complete door to door service to school kids which is very unique and probably the only place where it is done this way.

Talking about Animal-human conflict, he says that like any other place it exists here too but he is very happy that the resolution and compensation is the quickest here. Rs50,000 is given immediately and upon resolution, up to Rs. 8 Lakhs is given – the highest in the country.

When asked about challenges that he faces day in day out, he says that managing tourism is tough and core is saturated  but he is trying to put strict discipline with high fines so that tourism doesn’t not go out of hand. He also like to slowly more more tourists to buffer zone and not just core. Talking about Safari in Tadoba, he is very clear about regulating tourism as per NTCA guidelines, be it number of vehicles going inside or be it maintaining distance between vehicles or maintaining the distance from tigers.

Talking about moving villages out of the core area, only 2 ½ villages still in the core and next year only 1 ½ villages will be left ad slowly all of them will be relocated and with good package so that they don’t feel short changed.

Talking about Poaching, he is extremely happy to say that it’s a zero poaching area where there exists no organized poaching. There are few issues like snares being used in the nearby farms and a few tigers getting caught there but there is education going in for the villagers and also a way to solar fence so that animals don’t enter their farm.

His another big challenge, surprisingly is not loss of tigers but having tigres having more than the carrying capacity of the forest. His worry is that when all the cubs grow up (Tadoba has the highest density of cubs today in the entire nation – in 1300 sq km, they have 88 tigers and 40 cubs) where will they go?

tadoba tigers cubs

[Choti Tara with her Cubs @ Tadoba – Dec 8 2016]

He is in favor of creating Tiger Corridor in and around Tadoba. His worry is that as number of tigers increase and if there is no way for them to go, there will be a rise in human-animal conflict. He says that in neighboring Gadchiroli district we have huge tract of forests which would have been an amazing place of spillover Tigers to move but issues of Naxals is big over and he feels for it. He feels Gadchiroli has the potential of being the next big tiger reserve if only if we can fix the naxal insurgency over there.

Overall he is extremely happy with the way Tadoba is being managed and why not as it ranks almost top when it comes to way it is managed, the way Tiger Numbers have multiplied, the best tiger breeding place in the country, the place where locals are benefited most because of the tourism.

We left his room knowing so much what happens behind the scene other than just clicking  those tiger pics in the park. Felt so happy and Proud about him and his team.

garad tadoba with manjunath gowda wildtrails india app

3 Cheers to them and the villagers and the staff who makes all this possible.

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