Imphal, March 11: The Manipur forest department is awaiting the results of a test to confirm reports that a Royal Bengal tiger was sighted near a village in Manipur’s Tamenglong district.
The villagers had informed forest officials about an animal similar to a Royal Bengal tiger attacking domestic animals at Bhalok and nearby villages.
A team of forest officials visited Bhalok village and its adjoining areas in Tamenglong and found some footprints of “large cats”.
The imprints were sent to the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to confirm if the pugmarks belonged to a Royal Bengal tiger.
“There are reports of the presence of large cats around the village and its adjoining areas in Tamenglong district. Some domestic animals were reported missing from that area. Whether they were killed by a tiger or some other large cats like leopards is being ascertained,” forest minister Th. Devendra Singh said in the state Assembly today.
He said the results of the examination at WII, Dehradun, were awaited.
The forest department was also trying to confirm whether the animals were inhabiting the district or had recently migrated there.
Devendra Singh said the state forest department was planning to undertake a tiger census in association with the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the WII.
“The state government will think of declaring Bhalok and its adjoining areas as a tiger reserve after considering the results of the examination of the footprints and the tiger census. The state forest department is also in the process of setting up of a tiger conservation authority,” he said.
The minister added that forest department officials in the district had been alerted and awareness campaigns were conducted to prevent attacks on domestic animals.
He informed the members that the state government had declared an area of 115.8 square km in Bunning village in Tamei sub-division of Tamenglong as wildlife sanctuary on September 8, 1997. However, the final notification was pending as rights of any person over the land were yet to be settled, he said.
Awangbou Newmai, Independent MLA from the district, said the villagers had killed at least 10 tigers after they started attacking domestic animals.
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