Tiger burning bright in west TN
18 Jun 2009, 0215 hrs IST, Radha Venkatesan, TNN
SATHYAMANGALAM: Want to track a tiger in the wild? Trek into the deep forests of Sathyamangalam, in Erode district of western Tamil Nadu, and you stand a wild chance of spotting the majestic, striped cat.
In the 1,455-sqkm forests, where no tigers were spotted 10 years ago, evidence of the presence of at least 10 to 12 tigers has been found in the latest wildlife census.
At least three tigers were sighted by the census team, which fanned out in all five ranges of the Sathyamangalam forests. Besides, pug marks and scat of another nine tigers were found. “By direct and indirect census, we can estimate that at least 10-12 tigers are there in the entire Sathyamangalam forest division,” said K Kalidasan, president of OSAI, which conducted the census with the help of 180 volunteers for the state forest department in March and April.
The team also spotted two tigers cooling their heels at water holes and tracked the pug marks of a male tiger in the Bhavanisagar range.
Significantly, the tiger sightings have been outside areas declared as sanctuaries. In fact, the Sathyamangalam forests, parts of which were declared a sanctuary only a few months ago, are not part of the ‘Project Tiger’ initiative, and the latest findings may bolster conservation efforts. These forest ranges are linked to of a contiguous stretch from the Nagarahole, Bandipur and Mudumalai sanctuaries, all tiger reserves.
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