Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can’t find tigers in Palamau

- WII left wandering due to faulty data, no indicators

Ranchi, April 28: “A tiger is like God in the Palamau Tiger Reserve. It is impossible to sight both God as well as a tiger.”

An earnest tiger tracker’s comment to a tourist sometime back has now got the seal of approval from the Dehra Dun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII): “The Palamau Tiger reserve hasn’t reported a single tiger sighting during the phase I survey,” it said in its latest report.

According to WII, Palamau is part of a 12,580km long forest spanning Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and has the potential to harbour a good number of tigers.

But inadequate data, coupled with lack of indicators, made it impossible for WII to estimate the population of tigers in Palamau.

“The questionnaire survey of phase I data requires further field verification for evaluating status of the population. Subsequent data provided by the state government was not as per the phase I protocol,” the report said.

The WII report has put the total number of tigers in the country at 1,411.

In Jharkhand, the WII has singled out Naxalism as the primary reason behind the dwindling numbers.

“If this problem is resolved and anthropogenic pressures reduced by community participation in conservation management with appropriate economic incentives, this area could serve as a good source population of tigers,” the WII pointed out.

The Palamau sanctuary was brought under Project Tiger in 1973 and is among the first nine tiger reserves of the country. Around Rs 259 crore has been spent on tiger conservation in Palamau till 2004.

Principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A.K. Singh said the WII was yet to reach a conclusion on the exact number of tigers.

“We have given further information. They have to analyse the data and give us the number conclusively,” he maintained. He, however, refused to make any comment on the exact number of tigers.

Source: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1080429/jsp/frontpage/story_9203740.jsp

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