Country has around 1,500 tigers

Country has around 1,500 tigers
29 Dec 2007, 0239 hrs IST, Neha Shukla, TNN
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LUCKNOW: Over with the tiger estimation work in four central Indian states, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), in its latest census report, projects 1,300 to 1,500 tigers in the country.

The projections came up for discussion at a recently convened meeting of National Board for Wildlife. For Uttar Pradesh the picture is dismal with not more than 100 to 120 big cats left within the confines of its protected and unprotected areas.

“UP does not have more than 100-120 tigers,” said Valmiki Thapar, member of the board. The final documentation on the tiger count will be out in January. However, the census, which was to be over by December 8, is already delayed.

Meanwhile, the projections in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, as revealed by Project Tiger authorities, show a decline in the number of tigers outside reserves. “Within the tiger reserves, the number is more or less the same as was in the last count”, said Ganga Singh, additional director, India Eco Development Project, MoEF.

But, contrary to what the ministry claims, tiger activists are sceptical of the single-handed counting of tigers this time by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.

“The figures given in the end could be inflated by close to 40 per cent”, said Raghu Chundawat, an animal activist. “As per the report Panna tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh has 32 tigers when in reality not more than four would be left there,” said Chundawat.


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