VTR records 75% jump in tiger count, has 54 now
Bihar's Valmiki Tiger Reserve has seen a 75% increase in tiger count, from 31 in 2018 to 54 in 2022, and has been declared "very good" by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The reserve is the only one in Bihar and is located in West Champaran district. The increase in tiger population is seen as an indicator of the health of the forests. The NTCA report also praised the reserve for its management of human-animal conflicts and efforts to stop poaching and wildlife trafficking.
Bihar’s Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) has recorded a 75 per cent increase in tiger count, from 31 in 2018 to 54 in 2022, and has also been declared as “very good” among the 51 tiger reserves in the country, according to a report by the National Tiger Conservation Authority ( NTCA), which was released on the International Tiger Day on Saturday.
VTR, the lone tiger reserve in Bihar, is located in West Champaran district.
In 2014, there were only 28 tigers at the reserve. In 2018, the number grew to 31.
“And now it has 54 tigers. It’s really a proud moment for the VTR and for the entire state,” PK Gupta, Bihar’s chief wildlife warden, said.
The high population of tigers is also an indicator of the health of the forests, he said. “This is why the NTCA has categorised VTR under ‘very good’ slot. Tiger reserves in the country are classified by the NTCA under four categories — excellent, very good, good and fair,” the official said.
Altogether 12 tiger reserves of the country have been slotted under excellent category while 21 tiger reserves, including VTR, have been declared very good and 13 in good category. The rest five have been declared fair, Gupta said.
“Regarding the status of forests, NTCA explained in its report that the VTR management has been working well. It has been managing the human-animal conflicts well and is working to stop poaching or wildlife trafficking,” he said.
“NTCA has also appreciated VTR for improvement in grass line, for a well organised anti-poaching team and the human management in the villages in buffer zone of the Vakmiki tiger reserve,” Gupta said.
The NTCA report is titled as “The Status of Tigers- Co predators and Prey in India, 2022” .
The VTR occupies a core area of 909.86 sq km of Valmiki Sanctuary located in West Champaran district. It was established as the 18th tiger reserve in 1990 and ranked fourth in density of tiger population.
Rivers Gandak and Masan flow through this area. Gandak river, with the Himalayan Mountain Range as a backdrop, offers breathtaking views.