More tigers likely in VTR
PATNA: From 81 in 1989 to just 10 in 2006. Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR), notified as the 18th tiger reserve of the country in 1989, has witnessed a continuous decline in number of tigers.
In all likelihood, however, this trend would change when results of the ongoing tiger census are available by next year. This is evident from the outcome of the camera trap phase of the tiger census work, which was completed recently.
A total of six tigers were captured by cameras which covered around 200 sqkm area spread over Raghia, Gobardhana and Manguraha ranges of the reserve. The reserve, spread over 880 sq km, has nine ranges.
This is in addition to the two tigers captured on camera in the Ganauli range of the reserve under a separate project of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). WTI has been selected by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for conducting the camera trap phase of the tiger census in the VTR.
"We have camera trap evidence of eight tigers in the reserve and when this figure is extrapolated for the whole area of the reserve, the number of tigers would certainly be more than what it was when previous census reports came," a senior VTR official, preferring anonymity, told TOI.
Extrapolation work, on the basis of which WII releases its estimates about the number of big cats in a tiger reserve, is done by experts on the basis of other data gathered from the field. The factors which are taken into consideration, while estimating the number of tigers, are carnivorous sing, habitat features, pray encounter and anthropogenic disturbances.
Giving reasons for the likely increase in the number of tigers, the VTR official said, "Complete ban on mining activities, effective check on movement of poachers and improvement in the pray base due to better habitat management are some of the reasons which have allowed the tigers to live more comfortably here."