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Madhya Pradesh will reopen all its national parks and tiger reserves for a month starting from June 1. For the last couple of months, these protected wildlife areas had been shut due to the second wave of the pandemic. Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha Tiger Reserve, Satpura Tiger Reserve, Pench National Park, and Panna National Park are some of the reserves which will be re-open for tourists ahead of the monsoon season.
"Madhya Pradesh is known as a tiger and leopard state," said Forest Minister Vijay Shah in a video statement. "National parks and tiger reserves had been shut due to the coronavirus outbreak. We have decided to keep these parks and reserves open from June 1 to June 30."
The minister further added that the move will help people involved in tourism activities.
Forest officials say that 41 new tiger cubs have been sighted at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, ranging from newborns to one-year-olds.
The state has six tiger reserves apart from 11 national parks and 24 sanctuaries. Every year, the conservation sites here remain closed for nearly three months during the monsoon season. Earlier with a population of 526 tigers, Madhya Pradesh had regained the top slot in the 2018 tiger census and is currently home to the highest number of tigers in the country. The state has 3,421 tigers, followed by Karnataka which has 1,783, then Maharashtra at 1,690.
Due to heavy rains and lack of transportation during the pandemic, sanctuaries in India experienced a low turnout of tourists. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, had decided to shut all national parks and sanctuaries from May due to the alarming spread of COVID-19 cases. The ministry order dated April 30 had also mentioned reports of some lions dying due to the virus.
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