With numbers of Tiger deaths, Kaziranga still has many.
Are we really lucky ?
TOI : Kaziranga National Park, the only world heritage site in Assam, located about 250 km from the state capital, has the highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world.
This welcome news comes amid a growing concern over the number of tiger deaths in the park, as well as the fast dwindling big cat figures in other sanctuaries of India. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau found that between November 2008 and September 19, 2009, at least a dozen tigers had died in Kaziranga.
On Thursday, Assam environment and forest minister Rockybul Hussain announced that Kaziranga has as many as 32 tigers per 100 sqkm. He said this while releasing the findings of a joint study by the state forest department and Aaranyak, a biodiversity conservation group in the northeast. The study had been conducted between 2008 and March 2010, using the cameratrapping method.
“After an analysis of all parameters involved in cameratrapping methods, we can safely say Kaziranga has the highest density of Royal Bengal tigers in the world, surpassing even Corbett National Park in Uttarkhand,” Hussain said.
The minister officially announced Kaziranga’s name after the findings were scrutinised by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
Chitwan National Park (Nepal) — one of the major Royal Bengal Tiger habitats in the world outside India — has a density of 8.70 tigers per 100 sqkm. Corbett National Park in India has a density of 19.6 tigers per 100 sqkm. The density in other tiger reserves in India are Bandipur (11.97), Nagarhole (11.92), Kanha (11.70) and Ramthambore (11.46). M Firoz Ahmed, Aaranyak’s wildlife biologist and team leader of the study, said the tiger density of the Sunderbans in West Bengal is not known yet, while the density in SE Asian countries like Myanmar is much lower.
The revelation brought much cheer among wildlife enthusiasts and activists. Sanctuary Asia editor Bittu Sehgal said: “It’s the highest density of tigers in the world. But it’s an estimate. Nevertheless, it is a tribute to the wildlife protection staff of Kaziranga whose blood has been spilled in defence of its rhinos, tigers, elephants and wild buffalos. Kaziranga’s example should be emulated by all other tiger reserves and they should get the same political backing Kaziranga gets today.”
Wildlife activist Suchandra Kundu, however, expressed concern over the trend of tigers disappearing from reserves across the country, including Kaziranga. “Poachers are always on the hunt. In the northeast, the Arunachal-Nagaland-Myanmar circuit has become very vulnerable for the big cats. Poachers armed with sophisticated equipment kill tigers and smuggle their parts to other countries through Myanmar,” she said.