Tigers could have increased in Palamau
7 Jul 2009, 1350 hrs IST, PTI
RANCHI: Maoist presence in some areas of the Palamau Tiger Reserve in Jharkhand is preventing wildlife experts from ascertaining the exact number of felines in the park.
Experts feel the numbers could have risen from 17 in 2007 but they have limited access to the area.
The Reserve spread over the districts of Latehar, Garwah and Lohardaga, is divided into 30 zones of which 13 are Maoist-infested and cannot be patrolled, Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) and Biodiversity, S K Sharma, told PTI here.
Without free access to these 13 zones, the staff can neither collect samples nor install cameras at strategic places like waterbodies, Sharma said.
"As per the 2007 census, the Reserve had 17 tigers, but there could be more, but we cannot verify it because we cannot place cameras in the 13 zones as Maoists are present," he said.
"We have tiger protection forces mainly comprising local people. The force is divided into several groups who regularly patrol the areas. They are not armed as it was feared that these could be snatched away by Maoists," Sharma said.
The department was in the process of setting up a strike force comprising ex-service men. "But it is not yet decided whether they would be given weapons while on patrol," he said.