Apr 3, 2015
PILIBHIT: Environmentalists and NGOs have expressed apprehensions over the ability of the local staff of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve and World Wildlife Federation to hold the tiger consensus which is scheduled to commence from April 7. Conservationists feel that PTR and WWF staff members do not have the required expertise in tiger counting. They believe that if allowed to continue this way, the consensus would result in an ambiguous outcome which will not be reflective of the actual situation. Parvez Hanif, a local environmentalist who conducts programmes with the JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) in Pilibhit and Lakhimpur districts, said, “Due to acute manpower shortage at the local WWF office and absence of any wildlife expert, it cannot be expected of staffers to have precise knowledge about the movement of tigers in PTR. It is possible that the camera installation points for tracking the big cats have been heedlessly selected.” Hanif expressed concern over the fact that neither the National Tiger Conservation Authority nor the concerned ministry had deployed a team of wildlife experts despite the fact that the tiger numbers in PTR had been dwindling for the past three years.
Mohammad Ahsan, the retired chief wildlife warden of Uttar Pradesh also expressed the need for a team of wildlife experts not only to supervise the counting process of tigers in PTR but also to check the captured pictures of tigers and examine the number of stripes on each. Hanif emphasized upon the need of using the pugmark method for the tiger census in addition to the camera method so that cross-examination would become easy and the final result would be accurate. TH Khan, secretary of the Save Environment Society, said that the examination of tigers’ stripes was the most important part of the tiger census process. “A tiger could be spotted by many cameras installed in different forest range areas. Two cameras installed near the junction points of two different ranges could capture the picture of one single tiger due to its movement in both ranges. Also, a picture captured at a close distance would project difference in stripes of a tiger as compared to a picture taken at a long range,” said Khan, adding that the examination of tiger stripes essentially needs to be managed by wildlife experts.
As posted in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com