Dehradun, March 21
Uttarakhand wildlife authorities today claimed the existence of as many as 32 tigers inside Rajaji National Park.
Interacting with mediapersons during a field visit of a group of journalists inside Rajaji National Park on occasion of World Forestry Day, Uttarakhand Chief Wildlife Warden Srikant Chandola said with the availability of excellent prey species, Rajaji was proving to be an excellent breeding ground for tigers.
“The park has one of the richest sambar populations anywhere in India and this favours tigers,” he said. He, however, was also quick to add that the complete shifting of Gujjars from inside Rajaji could further boost the tiger population inside the Park.
When asked to substantiate his claim on the existence of 32 tigers inside Rajaji Park, Chief Wildlife Warden said he was giving this figure on the basis on tigers captured by camera traps. He said he was hopeful that the tiger report to be released by the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, would definitely support this figure.
While admitting that the shortage of water was a challenge for Park authorities, Srikant Chandola said they were undertaking all possible measures to ensure the availability of water to the animals in the summer months.
He stressed on the complete shifting of Gujjars from the Park pointing out that the Gujjars occupy the best lands and use the water inside Rajaji which have a negative impact on wildlife and the environment.
He added that the Uttarakhand Forest Department was making all attempts to ensure presence of staff in the forest chowkis to check the acts of poaching and forest fires.
Rajaji Park Director SS Rasaily, Deputy Director Shrawan Kumar and other Rajaji Park officials were also present.