'Growth in tigers' no. due to efforts by govt, people'

Pictorial representation. Photo credit: AFP

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi on Monday said the number of tigers in the state's only reserve for the big cats in West Champaran district has increased to 31 last year from eight in 2010.

The growth in the number of tigers at Valmiki Nagar Tiger Reserve can be attributed to the joint effort by the state government and common people to reduce man-animal conflicts, he said.

"In 2010, the number of tigers at Valmiki Nagar Tiger Reserve (VTR) was just eight, which increased to 28 in 2014 and 31 in 2018, thus registering a 10.71 per cent growth over the past four years.

"The total number of tigers in the country has been pegged at 2,967," the deputy CM said while addressing a function at Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park here on the occasion of 'International Tiger Day'.

As per 2010 St. Petersburg declaration, India has achieved the target of doubling the number of tigers in 2018, four years ahead of the deadline, Modi said.

"The growth in tiger numbers at VTR can be attributed to the collective effort (of people and government) towards reducing man-animal conflicts," he said, adding that 45,424 tourists visited the reserve in 2018-19 against 10,407 in 2017-18.

The senior BJP leader said officials of the environment and forest department have been asked to take steps to increase tourist numbers to one lakh by the next season.

Modi, who also holds the portfolios of finance and environment and forest, inaugurated a battery-operated toy train at the park - which is popularly known as Patna zoo.

He also named a giraffe's calf 'Hima' and a zebra colt 'Babli' at the zoo on the occasion.

Patna zoo earned Rs 8.66 lakh in 2018-19, despite the fact that the facility was closed for three months on account bird flu, Modi added.

International Tiger Day is observed every year on July 29 to raise awareness about conserving the big cat and its natural habitats. 

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