Claiming that tigers spotted in Goa are merely those passing through the state, using its forest cover as a transition corridor, state Forest Minister Vishwajit Rane said on Friday that there is no question of setting up a tiger reserve in Goa.
Rane, a self-confessed wildlife photographer, also said that his ministry would focus on creating ecotourism avenues in the state’s wildlife sanctuaries to promote tourist footfalls and create employment opportunities for local residents.
“I have been hearing about tiger for the last few days. The tiger enters Goa through a corridor before exiting (the state). There are no resident tigers in Goa. So there is no need to set up a tiger reserve in Goa and as long as I am the minister, there is no question of a tiger reserve,” Rane told reporters.
Villagers in the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a part of the Assembly constituencies of Valpoi and Poriem represented by Rane and his wife Deviya, have protested in the wake of an ongoing tiger enumeration survey being conducted by the state wildlife officials.
In more than a decade, five tigers have been killed in the sanctuary itself. The first reported tiger poaching incident occurred in 2009, when a tiger was snared in a metal trap, which cut through its torso. In 2020, four tigers were killed by poisoning, resulting in the arrest of four persons.
Rane, however, claimed that the tigers spotted in Goa were not resident beasts, but were merely passing through the state.
“Tigers have a natural corridor. The tigers coming into Goa come through a corridor in Karnataka. We have not found a resident tiger in Goa. The information I have sourced from the forest department indicates that the tigers come from Karnataka along the Mollem border, the Western Ghats serve as a natural corridor, before they exit,” he said.