Camera traps spot 118 tigers in Kaziranga
TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 10.21PM IST
GUWAHATI: Kaziranga National Park, a World Heritage Site, has recorded a rise in the number of tigers, according to the latest camera-trap technique used to make estimates of big cat population in an area.
According to Aaranyak, the NGO that carried out the camera-trap population estimate in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the technique recorded the presence of 118 tigers in the park, including six big cats which died during the period of the study.
The national tiger estimate in 2011 put the tiger population in the Kaziranga at 106 with lower and upper limits hovering minimum between 81 and 131.
The report on Aaranyak's study was released by state forest and environment minister Rockybul Hussain at Kaziranga on Monday.
"The results presented in the report reflect the individual tigers identified in 2009, 2010 and 2011 as a part of annual monitoring of tigers in Kaziranga National Park using camera traps during these periods. Altogether, 118 tigers have been recorded, including six photo-identified and known tigers that died during the period of study," Aaranyak said.
Hussain said that the tiger population was on the rise in the national park because of better protection mechanism implemented by the field staff of Kaziranga. "When the hope for tiger conservation is fast dimming all over the world, forests in Assam continue to offer the best habitat for this charismatic animal," Hussain added.
The Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII)'s assessment said that Kaziranga is in the "very good" category of tiger reserves in the country.
Aaranyak said that the tiger population of Kaziranga, which is a source population for the entire northeast, holds the key to conservation of tigers in the Karbi Anglong Hills and the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh (Nameri-Pakke) on the north bank of the Brahmaputra.
Aaranyak secretary general Bibhab Talukdar said that protection measures for rhino conservation in Kaziranga have benefited the tiger and prey population, causing them to increase.
"This growing population of tigers could disperse to other suitable habitats in Assam and adjoining states. And this scenario brings into focus the need to properly maintain corridors for such dispersal of wild animals," Talukdar suggested.
M Firoz Ahmed, a senior biologist at Aaranyak, who led the camera-trapping work in Kaziranga, said that the tall grass in the park proved to be a big challenge in the exercise. "Through this exercise we have also tried to train the staff of the forest department and make them a resource during Phase IV monitoring of tigers in Kaziranga," Ahmed added.