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Tiger makes a comeback to Gujarat after more than 25 years

The big cat was spotted in Gir National Park and Sanctuary.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2019 11:17 IST
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Gir National Forest,Tiger,Gujarat
Image captured by night vision camera of a lone tiger's movement in forest of Mahisagar district in Gujarat. (HT Photo)

The Gujarat forest department on Tuesday confirmed the presence of a tiger in the state, almost 25 years after the feline was last spotted in the forests of Dangs in the southern part of the state.

Camera traps installed in the Lunwad-Santrampur forest in the state’s northern district of Mahisagar caught the tiger moving around on Monday night, said district deputy range forest officer R M Parmar.

The Gir National Park and Sanctuary, home to Asiatic lions, is located around 500 kms from Lunawad-Santrampur forest where tiger was spotted.

Forest minister Ganpat Vasava said the tiger was about 7 to 8 years old and may have come either from Rajasthan, Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh.

“There were some reports of a tiger going missing from a forest area near Ujjain. We are trying to confirm it,” he said.

Cameras were installed after a teacher, Mahesh Mahera, had last week claimed to have spotted the tiger while crossing the forest near Boriya village. “We had installed five cameras around a waterbody where the teacher had reported the sighting,” Parmar said, adding that the forest department had earlier found pugmarks and hair of the tiger in the area. “The images now have put all the doubts to rest”.

According to forest department records, tigers were last seen in Dangs in 1989, when its population was estimated to be 13. The 1992 tiger census had reported the extinction of the animal from the state.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body under the ministry of environment and forests, included Gujarat in its tiger census in 2018 — the first time since 1992. The census report is expected to be released in May-June this year.

The Gujarat government is likely to start tiger safaris soon with a tag line, “One state in India to have both tigers and lions”.

The Centre has accepted proposal to start safaris at Kevadiya, Dangs and Surat, a forest department official said.

First Published: Feb 13, 2019 07:01 IST