Tigers migrating from Rajaji’s western section
Tue, Aug 12 03:00 AM
The western section of Rajaji National park has seen a decline in its tiger population over the last three years. According to officials, the number of tigers in this section has come down to as low as one or two from six or seven.
Playing down the possibility of poaching, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Shrikant Chandola says that this could be because of tigers having migrated from this section of the forest because of the human colonies close by. He added that the park has more than a dozen tigers, mostly concentrated in the eastern section of the national park.
Talking to media persons on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Rajaji National Park, Chandola also gave an account of the elephant population in the forest. He disclosed that in the last four years, four elephants have died on account of coming in contact with electric fences put by farmers to save their farms from the animals. “Steps are being taken to prevent this man-animal conflict. A major step in this direction is the decentralization of the compensation disbursement process to the farmers,” he said.
On the positive side, there have been no elephant deaths due to collisions with the trains since 2002.
“This has been possible on account of joint efforts of the forest department and the Indian railways. Joint patrolling along the tracks that run through the park has been very helpful in checking accidents. There have been occasions when railway drivers have reduced their speed or even stopped trains on coming to know of elephants in the vicinity of the tracks,” Chandola disclosed.
During the period between 1987 and 2002, a total of 21 elephants had lost their lives after colliding with the trains on this stretch.
Another good news on the elephant front is that the sex ratio amongst elephants in the Park is very good. It stands at 2.5 females for every male tusker. Authorities point out that in the south, this ratio is as bad as 100 females for every tusker. This has been on account of large scale poaching of tuskers for ivory by forest brigands.
Chandola also disclosed that the final notification on the creation of Rajaji National Park is expected to come very soon.
The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Dr R B S Rawat said that as a part of the silver jubilee celebrations of the park, special emphasis will be laid on the ecological development of the area with the help of the people living on the fringes. He said that special efforts will be made to generate awareness on wildlife conservation amongst the school children living in these fringe villages.