The Bihar government is planning to shift human population from 28 villages in the core area of Valmikinagar Tiger Project (VTP), the only Tiger Reserve in Bihar and relocate them elsewhere. This move follows the Ministry of Forests and Environment’s decision to relocate 1,500 villages situated in the core area of 28 tiger reserves in the country.
The CAG report of 2005-2006 suggests steep decline in the population of tigers in the VTP. According to this report, the VTP had 56 tigers in 2002, but by 2005 their number came down to just 33.
Confirming this, Chief Wildlife Warden Murariji Mishra said that there had been large-scale human encroachment on the tiger reserve area. “In a bid to lessen human interference, the ministry decided to shift 1,500 villages from 28 tiger reserves in the country. In the VTP too human activities have badly affected the tiger population as well as their prey base,” Murariji Mishra said.
The latest census report on the wildlife in the Valmikinagar Tiger Reserve is still awaited. But on the basis of the daily reports filed by the field staff and the evidence gathered through the camera trap technique in the forests, there are nearly 50 tigers in the state,” he said.
At the turn of the century, the tiger population in the country was 40,000. But the tiger census in 1972 made the shocking revelation that there were only 1,827 big cats left in the wild. Considering the sharp decline in the number of tigers in the country, a task force was set up to formulate a project for tiger conservation.