Apr 1, 2015
PILIBHIT: Starting April 7, authorities at Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR), in association with World Wildlife Federation (India), will begin a headcount of tigers in the state’s newest tiger reserve. Despite being in news for all the wrong reasons, including an alarmingly high number of tiger poaching cases here, PTR registered an increase in the number of big cats in the latest tiger census report, a development that raised eyebrows among the wildlife experts. A few of them also maintained that the ground realities at PTR might be entirely different and the local headcount would bring out a clearer picture. This year’s counting has been scheduled to be performed in two phases, which will be completed till June 30. The exercise will be undertaken here after a couple of years. Kailash Prakash, the divisional forest officer at PTR, told TOI, “In the first phase, tigers in Haripur range and a part of Barahi range will be counted while the remaining part of Barahi range, Mala, Mahof and Deuria range areas will be covered in the second phase.”
According to Prakash, around 150 cameras will be installed in each phase of counting. A daylong training session will be conducted with forest officials of Haripur and Barahi ranges on Wednesday to provide them a comprehensive knowledge on how to go about the headcount, he added. When asked about the efficacy of the method of counting tigers on the basis of images captured on trap cameras, which might have recorded repeated movements of a tiger, the DFO said that the staff of WWF will draw a final conclusion in such cases on the basis on physical appearance of the animal. In the meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh minister of state for Khadi and village industries Haji Riaz Ahmad appealed to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to deploy a parallel team of state administration to monitor the progress of the tiger headcount here and avoid any possibility of manipulation. The minister told TOI that this headcount of big cats at PTR is of specific importance since it will help the authorities know the ground realities here. Riaz said he had raised the matter of rapidly dwindling number of tigers in PTR a number of times in the last four years.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com