NGOs to monitor big cat count
Silchar, March 3: A full-scale tiger census is now under way in Mizoram, where apart from employees of forest and environment department, volunteers from NGOs and staff of other government departments will also be involved in the task.
The divisional forest officer (DFO) of the wildlife cell of the Mizoram government, Liankima Lailung, disclosed over phone from Aizawl today that in a bid to make this census a full-fledged drill, the first phase, from February 17–23, collected pugmarks from not only the lone tiger reserve at Dampa but also from other parts of the state.
He added that the census staff was now engaged in compiling the field data, collected by the officials and that the evaluation of the field data would take another two months for completion.
In a cursory census undertaken two years back, the number of tigers in the state, having 861 square km of the wildlife protected areas and 4,405 square km of reserved forests, was estimated at 20.
According to sources in the Mizoram forest and environment department, the state has a lone tiger reserve at Dampa, two national parks at Phawngpui and Murlen and six wildlife sanctuaries, including Ngengpui and Lengteng.
The evergreen Dampa tiger reserve, 127 km west of Aizawl, was in the news in December when, just one month before the planned national survey in the country, the Wildlife Trust of India declared that there are no tigers left in the reserve.
The forest department officials in Aizawl disclosed in the last count of the pugmarks that the number of tigers in the tiger reserve was estimated over a dozen.
It is apprehended that the spiralling poaching racket has a direct relation with rising demand in
The Mizoram forest department, however, is hopeful of spotting tigers in Dampa, which sprawls across a vast 500 square km.
The ongoing tiger census is expected to be completed by the end of April in Mizoram.
Along with depredation of Mizoram’s tiger population, instances of rampant poaching inside the Phawngpui national park in
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