Rewilding Reclaiming the land for wildlife at Pillibhit Tiger Reserve
Pillibhit Tiger Reserve
Pillibhit Tiger Reserve is one of India's newest Tiger Reserves. It was previously a reserve forest which was used as a revenue forest.
Limited exploitation of the forest was previously allowed for revenue. This included commercial fishing, controlled tree-felling etc.
In 2014, Pillibhit was upgraded to a Tiger Reserve. All commercial activites were stopped. Strict protection was enforced and wildlife became a priority.
This rewilding of the land and strict protection has ensured the survival of a rich variety of wildlife - Tigers, Leopards, Spotted Deer, Crocodile, the Bengal Florican etc.
Pillibhit is famous for its extensive waterways. It is criss-crossed by several natural streams and man-made canals diverting water
from the Sarda River to irrigate agricultural land in the Great Indo-Gangetic plains.
Inspite of it being declared as a Tiger Reserve where wildlife is a priority, the locals living around the park depend on the park for their livelihood. They used the park to graze their animals and collect firewood.
There are several nomadic herders living around the park who have been there for generations.
Poaching is rampant. People hunt smaller animals such as Turtles for their meat which is considered a delicacy.
Commercial fishing is still going on in the Sharda Sagar Lake but is due to be stopped soon.
The success story
Declaration of the Pillibhit Tiger Reserve has led to loss of revenue to the govt. Previously, this was a reserve forest where limited commercial activites
were allowed to generate revenue. Local people living around and in the forest were allowed limited access to the forest to gather firewood and to graze their animals.
All the above commercial activities by the govt and local people were stopped. Strict protection has ensured wildlife has recovered and the land has been rewilded.
Rare and elusive animals such as the Leopard and rare and elusive birds such as the Bengal Florican have been spotted to the delight of the govt officials and
wildlife researchers who have successfully rewilded this forest.