Goa wildlife census shows tiger presence
IANS, May 13, 2010, 05.45pm IST
PANAJI: Evidence of at least three tigers’ presence has been found in Goa’s wildlife sanctuaries during the ongoing wildlife census in the state by forest department officials.
A forest department official said tiger faeces was found at Surla and Nandran, in the Mollem National Park in the thickly-forested eastern part of Goa, 80 km from here.
“We also found pug marks of a tigress near the Anjunem dam, located near the Goa-Karnataka border,” a forest official said, requesting not to be named.
The official said the pug marks found at the Anjunem dam catchment area indicated that a tigress had passed by the water’s edge along with two cubs.
The development is a shot in the arm for green activists who have been lobbying for Goa’s forest areas being declared as tiger reserves.
However, no forest department official is willing to come on record to acknowledge the development.
According to noted wildlife expert Rajendra Kerkar, there’s a reason for the forest department’s silence.
“There has always been proof that tigers are there in our forests. But the forest department has been consistently denying the presence of tigers because they are hand-in-glove with the mining lobby,” said Kerkar, who recently exposed tiger poaching in the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary.
Kerkar said if the Mhadei, Netravali, Cotigao and the Bhagwan Mahavir sanctuaries were declared tiger reserves, illegal mining near these green havens, secretly endorsed by the several powerful politicians and allowed by the forest department, would have to immediately stop.
Goa’s Rs 6,000 crore open cast mining industry rings the state’s forests in the north and eastern parts which border with Maharashtra and Karnataka.
According to Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar, nearly 20 per cent of the Rs 40 million ore exported from Goa comes from illegal mining.