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  • “Over six lakh trees in Ramtek now provide a sheltering habitat to the tiger,” says Supriya Patil

    Published on July 29, 2022

    On World Tiger Day, Grow-Trees.com’s environment expert  shares details of the sprawling ‘Trees for Tigers’ project in Maharashtra

    The outpouring of grief over the passing of the Royal Bengal Tiger Raja at the South Khairbari rescue centre in Kolkata, has demonstrated the hold our national animal has on our emotions. Raja’s story also highlights the  dangers even majestic tigers  face in their natural environment and how much care we need to devote to not just them but to their fast depleting habitats.  The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), for instance, reported that 23 tigers lost their lives in Maharashtra in the first six months of 2021. Some  died naturally, while others lost their lives due to poaching, poisoning, electrocution, and railway accidents. Supriya Patil, an environment expert at Grow-Trees.com says, “On World Tiger Day (July 29), as a nation, we can say that we are making progress as far as increasing the tiger population goes despite occasional setbacks. The question however remains if they can thrive in the diminishing habitats where they are constantly in dangerous conflict with human populations or are being targeted by poachers.”

    More than 70% of the world’s tiger population is in India. While this is a source of national pride, it also places a responsibility on us to conserve, protect, and coexist with this wild animal. Grow-Trees. com has addressed this question via its ‘Trees for Tigers’ project, and as per 2018’s  Tiger Census Report, the state’s tiger population has jumped from 190 to 312.   Supriya says,”We extensively studied a report by the World Wildlife Fund India (WWF), titled ‘Lifeline for Tigers, 2014’. It detailed the major challenges faced by tigers in the Pench-Kanha area and one simple solution to address most of these concerns was to increase the green cover. Today, over six lakh trees planted by us in Ramtek  provide a sheltering habitat to the tiger. These trees have also expanded buffer zones and provided unbroken connecting corridors to the tigers at the Pench Tiger Reserve.”

    Indegenous species like Amla (Phyllanthus emblica), Karanj (Millettia pinnata), Kashid (Peltophorum pterocarpum), Teak (Tectona grandis), and Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) ensure that the vegetation is self-sustaining.  As always,  the project has not just helped nourish the biodiversity in the area but also provided livelihood to the local communities that can now also  utilise the Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) including fruits, twigs, and fodder. Supriya says this will  discourage illegal forest activities as well as reduce man-animal conflict.

    The organization also believes in reinforcing the importance of tigers as well as reducing man-animal conflict through their plantation projects as they firmly believe that the presence of tigers indicates a healthy  ecosystem. As the top predator at the top of the food chain, the tiger helps to keep the balance between herbivores and the vegetation they eat by preying on them. “Preserving tigers is nearly like protecting an entire ecosystem,” explains Supriya. “When we plant trees for this species, we also protect freshwater, clean air, food, and other necessities, as well as the shade and shelter of numerous other animals, birds, insects, and reptiles.  In fact, protecting these tiger habitats also helps to minimize floods and droughts, and lessens the effects of climate change.” 

    She adds, ” We have also reached a major milestone of planting over 5 million trees in the Similipal National Park in Odisha and our dream is to create a safe, natural haven wherever possible for tigers to prevent  habitat isolation which makes them vulnerable to multiple dangers. Every tree is a step in the right direction and I hope that all those who cherish India’s wildlife will support us in this mission.”

    Grow-Trees has created numerous projects that are focused on protecting tigers and other wildlife where people can support wildlife habitat conservation and restoration by planting trees as gifts or greetings for their loved ones. By providing a simple online platform for planting trees, the organization hopes to unite individuals and make a big impact on our socio-environmental systems.


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