MP had the highest number of tigers in India - at about 300 - according to the last estimation. The population has seen a sharp decline since then, with tigers being wiped out of Panna. M.P. nevertheless, has the potential to hold a significantly larger number. Towards this end, at the very least, the following steps are required to be taken within a period of three years:
- Resettle villages from the core of Kanha and Satpura Tiger Reserves.
- Halt the widening of the NH-7 and re-direct it from outside Pench.
- Improve the forest cover along the Kanha-Pench corridor to enable easy movement of wildlife.
- Accountability of officers, as in the Panna, Bandhavgarh (death of a tigress by vehicle) and Pench (burning of a tiger cub carcass) incidents.
- A qualified resettlement officer should be appointed by the state government and dedicated to the task of voluntary shift of villages.
- Tourism in tiger reserves should be handled by a dedicated ‘Tourism Officer’ and not by the forest department whose responsibility is protection.
- Set up a special tiger protection force.