Stress on better tiger protection steps
GUWAHATI, June 27 – Proactive action on the part of the Forest Department could place Assam in the forefront of the tiger conservation programme in the country. This would be possible due to the advantages that the state already possesses, which include a stable and growing population of the highly protected species.
A well-placed source in the Forest Department told The Assam Tribune that there was a need for “more focused thinking and intervention” to protect the tiger, which has a sizeable population in Kaziranga and few other protected areas. He favoured a policy that embraced more areas in the state where the presence of tigers was documented by independent observers.
There are reports which indicate that apart from tigers being located in Kaziranga, Manas and Nameri, the range of the animal extends into a number of eeserve forests in Assam and adjoining states. In total, the state could now possess a tiger population hovering around 180.
Dr Bibhab Talukdar of the biodiversity conservation group Aaranyak acknowledging the presence of the tiger in reserved forests said that better protection was required in those areas to ensure the survival of the animals. “I would say that the time has come to treat those reserved forests in a different way. It would be seriously limiting if we treat those merely as sources of timber,” he remarked.
Dr Talukdar pointed out that the net of tiger conservation should extend to other areas including parts of eastern Assam and some sand bars close to Kaziranga where the presence of the big cat has been located.
“While tigers are being surveyed in key protected areas, there are other areas where the animal’s presence has also been proved. Any serious conservation programme concerning the species must take into account those areas where monitoring is yet to take place,” he noted.
He was of the view that there was a dispersed population of tigers in areas across Assam, which has never been documented. “There is a genuine need for a scientific study to know about this population,” he asserted. Experts are of the belief that nearly 50 animals could be scattered in parts of the state, which are not within any protected area.