WII monitors tigers, snow leopards above 12,000 ft altitude in Tehri | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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WII monitors tigers, snow leopards above 12,000 ft altitude in Tehri

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will monitor the movement of tigers and snow leopards above 12,000 ft altitude near Khatling glacier in Tehri

dehradun Updated: Jan 14, 2018 19:20 IST
Nihi Sharma
A tiger camera trapped above 12000 ft in Khatling area in Tehri in February 2017. HT Photo
A tiger camera trapped above 12000 ft in Khatling area in Tehri in February 2017. HT Photo

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) will monitor the movement of tigers and snow leopards above 12,000 ft altitude near Khatling glacier in Tehri.

Earlier, the Institute had camera trapped both the species in the region. The Askot Wildlife Sanctuary reported the presence of tiger above 12,000 ft altitude in 2016. Similar findings were recorded in Kedarnath and Tehri following which the WII took up a detailed study on the presence of big cats.

A camera trap recorded the image of a tiger on February 4 last year, while a snow leopard was camera trapped near the Khatling glacier in February 2016. These two instances were the first photographic evidence of the presence of tigers and snow leopards near Khatling.

“We have put nearly 35 camera traps in the region to study and monitor the presence of big cats,” WII scientist Sathyakumar said. In March, the Institute will check the data of camera traps to ascertain the presence of more tigers or snow leopards.

This initiative comes ahead of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018-19, which will cover for the first time the high-altitude areas in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh where direct evidence of the presence of tigers are reported. The Institute is preparing the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this survey with the help of which the higher reaches will be scanned for the big cats.

India had 2,226 tigers as per the survey in 2014, accounting for 70% of big cats in the wild in the world. Uttarakhand had 340 tigers during the last estimation, with Corbett alone being home to a whopping 215 striped cats. Karnataka topped the list with 406 tigers. Madhya Pradesh (308) and Tamil Nadu (229) were the other two states with substantial tiger population.

“The Gangotri National Park is covered under the UNDP’s SECURE programme wherein snow leopard conservation will be undertaken in Uttarakhand. We hope in the coming years, other areas having snow leopard presence will also be included,” chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati said.