Alien and invasive species of weed have taken over grasslands in several tiger reserves, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Weed species such as Lantana, Eupatorium and Parthenium have come up in several reserves, including Mudumalai National Park, Bandipur area of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, the Gir and Kaziranga National Park, among others.
The invasive species of weed overtake grasslands, thus forcing the herbivorous to migrate, leading to significant drop in the tiger prey, according to experts.
The invasive species were found by an evaluation committee constituted by the ministry.
"Insofar as tiger reserves are concerned, there is provision for weed removal under habitat development which, inter alia, is an important part of Tiger Conservation Plan of the concerned tiger reserve," Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan informed Parliament in a written reply.
He further stated that removal of these unwanted weeds was one of the components which was supported under the centrally-sponsored scheme of Project Tiger.
However, according to the experts, very less is being done for the removal of such invasive species.
"Our grasslands have gone and these species has replaced them, they are everywhere. Be it Kanha or Corbett, it's not limited to just handful of the tiger reserves," conservationist Professor C.R. Babu told IANS.
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