Forest department discloses locations of five tigers in Jharkhand
With tiger debate picking up in Jharkhand, state forest officials on Monday disclosed the locations of five tigers indicated in the All India Tiger Estimation (AITE)-2018 report outside Palamau Tiger Reserve (PTR).
The officials also claimed presence of three tigers including two males and a female at the PTR, which did not find mention in the AITE.
The AITE, released by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 29 (International Tiger Day), said Jharkhand had five tigers but no tigers had been recorded at the PTR during the estimation period.
At a forest department’s press conference on Monday, officials said the location details provided in the AITE showed indication of a tiger near Hazaribag and another four near Saranda forest.
“Indirect evidences such as scat and pug marks were collected from across the state during the estimation from June 2018 to October 2018. Indirect evidences of five tigers were found from two areas. But, it doesn’t mean tigers reside there. It is possible that tigers were there during the estimation,” said PCCF (development) Vikram Singh Gaur.
The officials did not agree with the AITE-2018 report which said it found no trace of tiger during the estimation period at the PTR. Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) Sanjay Kumar said, “This time, 85% estimation was based on camera trap. During the estimation period, no tiger was captured in camera. But, it doesn’t mean that PTR is tigerless.”
Kumar said the department had been getting tiger evidence at regular intervals since February 2019. “Based on the direct and indirect evidences, we can claim there are at least three tigers including two males and one female tiger at the Palamau Tiger Reserve,” he said.
The PCCF, however, said, “It is true that tiger loves tranquillity, which has been disturbed in recent years. We have continuously been working to improve the situation,” he said.
Replying to a query over third railway line proposed at PTR, forest secretary Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi said, “As a forest guardian, we do not want any disturbance that could rob the peace of wildlife. So, we do not want that the third line be laid.”
State forest department will soon set up a wildlife crime control cell, a wing of Centre’s wildlife crime control bureau, to check poaching and other illegal activities against wildlife. PCCF Sanjay Kumar said an online monitoring system was also being developed, which would keep an eye on wildlife population, conflicts, crime and other issues digitally. The system would be launched by end of this year, he said.