Oct 8, 2015
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve has seen an increase in the number of tigers from 28 in 2014 to 44 now, according to the recent tiger census conducted between June and September. There are 35 adults, three sub-adults and six cubs. A total of 208 cameras were installed by the WWF team for a period of 60 days and extensive research was done to find the near-accurate figure.
The tiger census was confirmed by chief guest M P Singh, chief conservator of forests, Rohilkhand division, during the closing ceremony of the wildlife week in Pilibhit. During the week-long programme, many competitions on wildlife drawing, quiz, singing, etc, were held in which schoolchildren participated with great zeal and enthusiasm.
Giving information about the process of counting tigers, Kamlesh Kr Maurya, senior project officer at WWF, said, “We had installed 208 laser cameras, with each one placed at a distance of two to four kilometres from one another for 60 days. Around 2,35,000 pictures were clicked by these cameras. Also, GPS devices were used by the patrolling teams and every tiger footmark was recorded in the software MSTrIPES. Footmarks can be used to differentiate between males and females and stripes on the body are used to identify a particular tiger. Every tiger has a unique set of stripes on its body. Later the compiled data was cross checked thrice before being shared. The presence of easy prey is one of the main reason behind the presence of predators like tigers and leopards in PTR.”
D P Singh, sub-divisional forest officer, PTR, said, “The number of tigers across UP has shown a decreasing trend this year. The overall tiger count in UP is 117, which is lesser than last year’s figure of 118, despite significant increase of tiger population in PTR. We also need to preserve wildlife by preserving the forests.”
District magistrate Masoom Ali Sarvar praised the efforts of WWF and forests officials for doing a recommendable job and requested the people of district to show love and affection for wild animals as they are equally important to us.
TOI spoke to Akhtar M Khan, a professional photographer and member of Turquoise NGO. He said, “The forests of Pilibhit are extremely beautiful. The presence of endangered species like vultures, Bengal floricans, forest owlets, etc makes it a heaven for birdwatchers. Our NGO has confirmed the presence of 327 species of birds here.”
Kailash Prakash, DFO, said, “We have limited manpower, and the way our officials have worked is extraordinary. WWF provided us with modern tools like GPS, laser cameras, etc to closely monitor wild animals. I am happy to see a rise in the tiger count. We have also clicked pictures of four new species for the first time in Pilibhit Tiger Reserve; their information would be shared at a later date.”
Adarsh Kumar of the social forestry shared his views on man-animal conflict. “There is no major incident of such conflicts. Animals attack only when humans enter their territory and disturb their peace,” he said.
During the British rule, many kings from across India used to visit the forests here for hunting. In July 2013, Pilibhit forests were recognized as a wildlife sanctuary and on June 9, 2014, it was finally declared as India’s 45th tiger reserve.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com