The Kaliasot dam, located on the outskirts of the capital Bhopal, has become the new hotspot for tiger sighting. People, especially youngsters, are constantly heading towards the forests around the dam to catch a glimpse of Tiger T-1, which frequently wanders off in these parts.
The rising traffic, coupled with the growing interest in the big cats, has come as a headache to the forest department.
To keep the enthusiastic and adventurous away from the lurking danger, the forest department has also deployed several forest guards to ensure that people, especially those on foot or two-wheelers, stay away from the greens. But the efforts have not met much success, sources say.
Talking to HT, Shivam Gupta, a resident of Old City, said: “My friends and I frequently visit the Kaliasot dam. Earlier we visited the place at night to enjoy fresh air and watch the city shine from afar. But nowadays we go there to catch a glimpse of a tiger. I wish I will get to see one soon.”
Another Safi Khan, who recently posted a photograph of a tiger on Facebook, which he and his cousins spotted near the Kaliasot dam, said: “We were going to a farmhouse when we spotted the tiger at night around 15 days back. The experience was a bit frightening as well as exciting.”
According to forest department sources the tourist traffic in and around the dam increased after a few videos and photographs of the big cat became viral on the social networking sites and instant messaging applications over the past few weeks.
“Whenever a tiger is spotted near the dam, the news spreads like wildfire and scores of people reach the spot instead of staying away from the carnivorous animal. Many people head right to the dam at night. Till date the tiger has not attacked any human beings, but…a serious incident can happen anytime,” said a forest guard deployed near the dam, without wishing to be named.
The guard told HT that when people fail to spot the tiger, they click photographs near the warning signage.
Not just tiger, the forest near the dam is also a habitat of three leopards and a family of sloth bear. What makes matter worse is the fact that the areas, where the big cat has been spotted recently, are very close to some educational institutes.
When approached, PCCF Narendra Kumar said, “One should remain concerned about his/her personal safety and should avoid visiting such places on odd timings…It is not a national park where the tiger is moving. In national parks, tigers are used to seeing vehicles and humans. If a tiger is in defensive mood it may attack someone.”