Cautious optimism about rise in big cat | india | Hindustan Times
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Cautious optimism about rise in big cat

FOLLOWING THE second phase of the wildlife census 2006, forest department mandarins are optimistic about rise in number of tigers in the Tiger State of India. However, they are rather cagey about number, given the controversies that raged about dwindling population of tigers in five tiger reserves of MP, especially Panna national park last year.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 12:12 IST

FOLLOWING THE second phase of the wildlife census 2006, forest department mandarins are optimistic about rise in number of tigers in the Tiger State of India. However, they are rather cagey about number, given the controversies that raged about dwindling population of tigers in five tiger reserves of MP, especially Panna national park last year.

Preliminary reports trickling in from various national parks suggest an increase in the number of wildlife animals, especially tiger, say sources.

According to authorities if the projections from the counting process are anything to go by, there are enough reasons to be optimistic on this count.

“There has been abundance of evidence (of tiger presence) from the State's five project tiger reserves,'' Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Dr P B Gangopadhyay told the Hindustan Times today. The PCCF added that the census data was being collected and it would be compiled in about a month and sent to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.

The data would be compiled through specially designed software. “The WII would be sending us the software in about a week,'' Gangopadhyay informed.

The third and final phase of wildlife census would ensue once the data was compiled. In that, the interpretation of compiled data would be conducted.

Subsequently, high-density and low-density areas would be marked out. On that basis, the WII would set up camera traps and even use advanced scientific methods like DNA sampling in various areas to ascertain the exact figure of tiger population and of other animals in the State's forests.

Though optimistic, the forest officers say nothing can be said with surety about numbers as of now. They point out that the data collected so far are projections and the numbers would come later. “Preliminary indications have been good but actual figures would take time to come,'' said Gangopadhyay.

The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) would announce the nationwide census results sometime near June. Whether there actually is reason to be happy or these feelers turn out to be merely wishful thinking would be known only then. Nevertheless, the forest authorities, tiger lovers and conservationists would surely be keeping their fingers crossed till then.