2 more cubs sighted in Bihar tiger reserve
Sanjeev Kumar Verma, TNN 8 August 2009, 07:02am IST
PATNA: At a time when tiger population is reported to be decreasing in the country, two cubs have been sighted in Bihar's Valmiki Tiger Reserve.
These cubs, along with their mother, were seen between August 1 and 4 by Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel and villagers in the Manpur area, the eastern boundary of the reserve.
"This is really a refreshing news as tiger cubs have been sighted after almost one-and-a-half year," a Valmiki Tiger Reserve official told TOI on Friday.
In November 2005, a tigress was caught on camera with two cubs. The same tigress gave birth to two more cubs in late 2007. They were caught on camera in March 2008.
Tigresses do not conceive even after mating if they find the habitat unfit. That the cubs have born indicates the tigresses inside the reserve are comfortable, the official said.
He, however, was candid enough to admit that the positive development had more to do with the congenial natural conditions than any forest department endeavour. "How can we take credit when we have not been able to notify even the core critical area of the reserve despite the fact that the National Tiger Conservation Authority has already issued a directive to this effect?" he asked, as if from himself.
According to the amended law, states having tiger reserves have to notify core critical areas. It gives wide-ranging powers to forest officials to check human interventions in the area. In Bihar, however, a proposal for notifying 900 sqkm area as the core critical area of the reserve has been gathering dust for quite sometime.
"We have proposed to include Bhikna Thori area in the core critical area to put an effective check on mining activities in the area which serves like a junction for three protected areas __ Royal Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Sanctuary of Nepal and Valmiki Tiger Reserve of Bihar, which the wild animals use to move from one area to another," said the official.
Sources in the forest department said some vested interests were trying to influence the government decision as they don't want a check on mining activities in the Bhikna Thori area for obvious reasons.
Bihar minister of state for forest and environment Ramji Rishideo said no decision has been taken as yet regarding the exact area to be notified as the core critical area. While refusing to give any timeframe for the notification, he said the matter is under consideration.