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Tiger population on the rise in State

Subhash Chandra N S, Bangalore, Dec 24, 2013, DHNS :

Fifty direct sightings reported during the recent census

increasing tribe? The sighting of cubs with mother in various forests during this time, according to the officials, indicates the presence of breeding tigers. DH Photo/Chandrashekhar N B

With more than 50 direct sightings reported in the Karnataka tiger reserves and wildlife sanctuaries during the National Tiger Census, 2013, the Forest department believes that the population of big cats is on the rise in the State due to successful conservation measures.

The sighting of cubs with mother in various forests during this time, according to the officials, indicates the presence of breeding tigers. Sources in the department say that there had never been so many sightings during the earlier census.

Popular tiger reserves top the list of sightings. Nagarhole Tiger Reserve (NTR) reported sighting of 20 tigers followed by Bandipur tiger reserve (BTR) with 18.

“We had 18 sightings reported during the first three days, while no tigers were seen on other days,” said H C Kantharaju, Conservator of Forests, BTR.

R Gokul, Conservator of Forest, NTR, said the six-day census reported as many as 20 sightings. The census ended on Monday.

Rare phenomenon

Another interesting aspect this time is that as many as 13 tigers were seen at Bhadra Tiger Reserve. Sightings are rare in this reserve, given its large area.

“Two volunteers V Gopala Krishnaiah and Raghavendra sighted five tigers in a span of two minutes on the fourth day of census. A mother with two sub-adult cubs was sighted first, and later two cubs were seen within a distance of 200 metres near the Saave anti-poaching camp in Lakavalli range,” said Sanjai Mohan, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Project Tiger, Shimoga and Field Director, Bhadra Tiger Reserve.

Similar was the case with Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve (ADTR), which has more tree cover. “Five tigers were seen during the census. Apart from this, there were good sightings of black panthers,” said Malleshappa, Conservator of Forests, ADTR.

A unique feature of the census this time, according to Vinay Luthra, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, is that apart from reserves, tigers were sighted in protected areas such as Talacauvery and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. He attributed the increased sightings to tiger protection and conservation measures taken up by the Forest department.

Sightings of cubs at many places have enthused the Forest department on the outcome of its measures to increase tiger population.

According to Gokul, a big cat with cubs was seen at DB Kuppe range in NTR on the very first day of the census.

A forest official sighted a tiger with three cubs in Punjur range in BRT Wildlife Sanctuary, while there were three sightings with cubs at Bandipur Tiger Reserves.


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