As per the 2004 census, Panna had 35 tigers. This year the count has come down to 24. But many experts believe that the actual number could be much lower, a situation that’s alarming.
As a consequence its no wonder tourists are disappointed.
”The park is good and I saw a lot of animals, but was not lucky enough to see a tiger,” said a tourist.
The government appointed team of experts that was in Panna to examine claims of disappearing tigers says it found 50 pugmarks, an indication of tiger presence in the area.
But experts claim this is no guarantee that tiger numbers are not on the decline, especially the females.
”It is difficult to say if females are there or not,” said P K Sen, Expert, Tiger Committee.
But the park authorities are unwilling to accept the problem.
”There always does not have to be a direct sighting. There are signs like pug marks, which indicate the presence of a tiger. You can keep looking for two years and may still not sight a tiger,” said G Krisnamurty, Director, Panna Tiger Reserve.
Known as the emerald forest, Panna was considered one of the best tiger habitats in the country but if urgent steps are not taken to monitor and protect the tiger population it could well go the Sariska way.
For The Tiger
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