Roar for Tigers

Tigers stray into villages near Pilibhit reserve

Tigers stray into villages near Pilibhit reserve

Oct 28, 2015

Pilibhit: With two sub-adult tigers straying into villages near the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, the possibility of man-animal conflict has increased in the area. While there have been reports that one of the tigers attacked some cattle at Amariya, no attacks on humans have been reported so far.

Wild animals normally enter human habitations in search of food and water. In this case, easy availability of prey like wild boar and nilgai as well as water has possibly led to the tigers straying into these villages, said officials. Meanwhile, terror has forced villagers to stay indoors and not permit their children to leave the houses.

Although the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) had installed some cameras to get information about the movement of wild animals at Pilibhit, these are not in sufficient enough numbers, nor do they protect against the threat of poachers.

Teams of wildlife officials had conducted several sessions with villagers to ensure no man-animal conflict occurs in such a situation, but as long as the tigers are out of the reserve, both villagers and they are at risk.

In 2012-2013, a tigress moved from Mahof range to Amariya, gave birth to three cubs and continued living there because of easy availability of food and water. A few months ago, the tigress moved away from Amariya and left the cubs, who had grown into sub-adults by then.

Recently, the WWF installed laser cameras to check the movement of the tigers and, so far, only two have been caught on camera, while officials are yet to find the location of the third. Amariya lies with the social forestry division and the wildlife team had made efforts in the past to take these tigers to the forest, but availability of limited resources and presence of sugarcane crop across thousands of acres of land have acted as obstacles, officials said.

“The easy availability of prey is the main reason behind these tigers staying at Amariya. We have tried to catch them and return them to the reserve but limited resources have hindered us. Our team will try again after the sugarcane harvest, when the visibility in the area will improve,” said Adarsh Kumar, divisional forest officer (DFO) with the social forestry department, talking to TOI.

On the male tigers’ mother, who first moved from Mahof range to Amariya, sub-divisional forest officer of Pilibhit Tiger Reserve DP Singh said that the tigress had probably moved to keep her cubs safe from male tigers who prey on cubs during the mating season. “In 2014, a sub-adult tiger was killed by an adult for the same reason. We think the sub-adults are staying on at Amariya because food is easy to find and they do not need to return to the forest,” Singh said, adding that the threat to both tigers from poachers was also increasing the longer they stayed outside the forest.

Meanwhile, local MLA Hemraj Verma said that he would speak to UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav about the situation and request him to strengthen the resources of the wildlife department. “The situation is very alarming and necessary steps should be taken soon to avoid any casualties,” Verma added.




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