Declining tiger population, encroachment at Namdhapa Park

Declining tiger population, encroachment at Namdhapa Park

PTI, Aug 20, 2010, 05.40pm IST

ITANAGAR: Declining tiger population and encroachment at the Namdapha National Park, the only one in the world to have four species of big cats, in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district, has been a major cause of concern for forest department officials here.

The number of tigers at the park, which is home to tiger (Panthera Tigris), leopard (Panthera Pardus), snow leopard (Panthera Uncia) and clouded leopard (Neofelis Nebulosa), have been declining.

According to the 2001-2002 census, there were 11 wild cats in the park, but 2006 census showed only four.

Department sources, however, claimed that the 2006 census by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was incorrect as it was done in selected areas of the tiger reserve. The next census is scheduled in October.

Besides, the decline in tiger population, the reserve experienced large scale encroachment from the mid-eighties by Lisus, a tribe originating from China, who are good tiger hunters.

“The reported decline in tiger population is mainly due to encroachment in the buffer zone of the park by 84 families of Lisu tribes from across the border,” Principal chief conservator of forest (environment & forest) and head of forest force B S Sajwan said.

“Though there is no report of supply of tiger parts to China, but we can’t rule out such possibilities,” Sajwan said.

The Namdapha authorities adopted every possible option to evict the encroachers, but because of shortage of forest guards it could not be done.

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