WII confirms presence of tigers in Jharkhand's PTR: Official
A team of forest personnel in November last year had seen a tiger crossing the Medininagar-Mahuadanr road from a distance of 10 feet.The Betla National Park in PTR was thrown open to tourists on October 1 after it remained closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the buffer zone, 53 sq km is open for tourists.The area was declared as a protected forest reserve in 1973-74 when Project Tiger was launched.
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) at Dehradun, an autonomous institution under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has confirmed the presence of big cats in Jharkhand's Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) based on scientific evidence, a senior forest officer said on Thursday.
The confirmation has brought joy among employees of PTR, where it was declared in 2018 that there was no tiger left.
''Tiger faeces were sent to the WII laboratory for examination on December 22 last year. The institute, after tests, confirmed the presence of the big cats in the reserve,'' PTR Field Director Kumar Ashutosh told PTI.
''This gives a scientific and official confirmation of the presence of tigers in PTR,'' he said.
The confirmation is significant in the backdrop of the Jharkhand High Court four months back commenting on the absence of tigers in PTR: ''If there is no tiger, then this agency should be closed, after all, what is the point of wasting public money?'' Ashutosh said that fresh tiger hair and faeces found in Mahuadanr forest in PTR a few days back have been sent to WII for examination.
A total of 509 trap cameras have been set up throughout PTR, and the photographs will soon be examined, he said.
Besides tigers, WII has also confirmed the presence of leopards in PTR, he said. A team of forest personnel in November last year had seen a tiger crossing the Medininagar-Mahuadanr road from a distance of 10 feet.
The Betla National Park in PTR was thrown open to tourists on October 1 after it remained closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Counting of wild animals has begun in PTR, known for conducting the world's first tiger census in 1932.
Of the 1,129.93 sq km area of PTR, 414.08 sq km is marked as core area (critical tiger habitat) and the remaining 715.85 sq km as the buffer zone. Of the total area, 226.32 sq km is designated as Betla National Park. In the buffer zone, 53 sq km is open for tourists.
The area was declared as a protected forest reserve in 1973-74 when Project Tiger was launched. PTR registered its highest tiger population of 71 in 1995, following which the numbers kept dwindling.
It was one of the first nine tiger reserves of the country during the inception of Project Tiger. The first tiger census, based on pugmark count, was carried out in PTR in 1932 under the supervision of then Palamu Divisional Forest Officer J W Nicholson.
A total of 47 species of mammals and 174 species of birds, 970 species of plants, 17 species of grass and 56 species of medicinal plants have been identified in PTR, officials said.
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