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All not lost: Tigers alive in Kuno

After a year of disappearing tigers, 2006 has started off on a promising note.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2006 03:14 IST

After a year of disappearing tigers, 2006 has started off on a promising note. Last year, the Kuno wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh had joined a list of other reserves where tigers were said to have gone missing. But now, fresh evidence suggests that the big cats are still on the prowl.

A team of students from the Delhi University's Environment Biology department went on a tiger trail and spotted pugmarks and tiger scat in the sanctuary. "We believe these are of two tigress and a cub. It's possible a male tiger is also around," team leader Faiyaz Khudsar told the Hindustan Times.

The new revelation has generated a lot of enthusiasm among conservationists as the state government's 2005 census had said that there were no tigers in the sanctuary. "It was an extensive survey in which the forest officials failed to find pugmarks and officially declared that there are no tigers in Kuno," an official said.

But the student team proved the officials wrong. "There were tigers which the officials failed to spot as they may have examined a small area. There is something wrong with the census system of state governments which needs to be corrected," Khudsar said. Earlier, the Rajasthan government had claimed that tigers still survived in Sariska, when, in fact, there was none.

The cheering development might revive the Uttar Pradesh government’s plan to set up a lion safari in the region.

The Central Zoo Authority has accepted the proposal in principle but is awaiting a nod for the transfer of lions to Chambal from Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat.

"The project is stalled as Gujarat government is not willing to relocate the lions even though the habitat is not sufficient to support so many lions," a government official said.

First Published: Jan 28, 2006 03:14 IST