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Enthusiasts beelining for Bor Tiger Reserve


                                                                                           By Mayuri Phadnis, Pune Mirror | Feb 17, 2015, 02.30 AM IST

With the sanctuary being declared a tiger reserve in 2014, officials claim a 25 per cent rise in footfall in just 3 months of its opening.

Tourists and tiger enthusiasts are making a beeline for the Bor Tiger Reserve that was, till August 2014, known as a national wildlife sanctuary. However, ever since its upgradation, the location has become more popular. In only three months since the reserve threw open its gates, there has been a 25 per cent rise in footfall compared to the same period last year.

"Tourism begins in October and lasts till June, with March onwards after the school exams being the peak time. This period is the socalled off-season, but despite that there is a rise," said Uttam Sawant, assistant conservator of forests, Bor tiger reserve.

The sixth tiger reserve in the state and 47th in the country, Bor is the smallest sanctuary. The other tiger reserves in the state are Tadoba- Andhari, Melghat, Pench, Nagzira and Shyadri. The location of Bor is strategic since it is the mid-point between Melghat, Tadoba and Pench reserves and an important corridor.

"Bor has a hilly terrain and is quite scenic. The grass is thick owing to which herbivorous animals thrive and act as prey for the tiger. The sightings of the big cat have also increased. Besides the tiger, animals like panther, bear, nilgai, etc can also be seen in the area," added Sawant.

A RESERVE FROM A SANCTUARY

As many as 60 sq km of the area was declared a sanctuary in 1970. In 2012, 62 sq km was added to this area and rechristened the New Bor Sanctuary. In August, an additional 16 sq km was added as the Extended New Bor Sanctuary and the entire 138 sq km area was upgraded to be called the Bor Tiger Reserve. The status upgrade put Bor on the world map. "Camping enthusiasts are also on the rise these days. And, since, it is only an hour-long trip from Nagpur, it is easy for people to commute," added Sawant.

Pointing out its perks, Anuj Khare, a member of the state wildlife board said, "The guides at the reserve are well-trained. Even though it is the smallest and the newest tiger reserve, its popularity is increasing. With this, tiger tourism will get distributed and the burden on other sanctuaries will also reduce."

"Rising tourism also acts as a vigilance mechanism. The landscape is good and it has a dry deciduous forest. However, the tiger population in the region is not as thick as in Kanha or Tadoba sanctuaries. Having declared it as a tiger reserve is good considering that there will be enough funds for the conservation and various rules will be applied which help in conservation. But people should enjoy the wilderness. Unfortunately, the tourism is very tiger centric," said Shekhar Nanajkar, director, Wild Outdoors, who takes out tours.