Jul 15, 2015
BAREILLY: Authorities at Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR), which has been in the news for its dwindling big cat population, are making all out efforts to protect its eight cubs spotted in June this year. Forest department has decided to install 24 laser cameras in the forest to monitor the activities of the cubs and keep an eye on poachers. The laser cameras would soon be installed in Mala, Barahi and Haripur ranges, where the eight cubs were sighted. After conducting the tiger census in the forest, WWF (India) had removed the cameras which were installed in the PTR. The process of counting tiger population in the forest was conducted from April 7 to June 30. “However, as eight tiger cubs have been recently sighted in the forest, I have asked officials to set up 24 laser cameras in the areas where cubs have been sighted. With the installation of cameras, we will keep a tab on the activities of the cubs. Our priority is to protect the cubs from poachers,” said Kailesh Prakash, divisional forest officer (DFO), PTR. According to sources, PTR has lost tigers to poachers and poaching remains the biggest challenge before the forest authorities. Installing cameras would be one way to keep tabs on movement of poachers. Forest officials say one of the major problems PTR faces is the presence of 275 villages with a population of nearly five lakh within five-km radius of the forest’s buffer zone. “The forest is surrounded by villagers and at times, poachers enter the forest along with villagers. However, the images captured by cameras will alert us if there is any movement of poachers,” said Prakash. The pictures of the eight tiger cubs were captured by the camera traps which were installed by WWF for counting the total number of tigers in PTR. The actual number of cubs would be confirmed by the compilation of tiger pictures once the tiger census process is completed across all five ranges of PTR. The age of these cubs is estimated to be between two months and a year.
“As per the tiger census 2014, there are 28 tigers in PTR. With the sighting of eight cubs, the number of tigers have gone up. However, we can talk about the exact number of tigers in PTR only after we get report on tiger count from WWF,” said the DFO. Meanwhile, the forest department has asked WWF to conduct the tiger census in Khutar range, which is the buffer zone of the forest spanning 1,736 hectare by installing cameras here. “We believe that tigers reside in Navdiya Banki and Nazirganj blocks of Khutar range of PTR, which comes under Shahjahanpur district. After the staff of WWF inspects Khutar range, they will install cameras for tiger count here,” said DFO.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com