Tiger cubs usher hope for Dudhwa reserve
Neha Shukla, TNN 4 November 2009, 07:02am IST
LUCKNOW: The tiger population at Dudhwa might be poised on the upper side this time. At least 17 tiger cubs, under one year in age, have been spotted in the reserve. "They all must have been born this season and spotted now," said sources.
Besides, the survival of cubs born last year, too, has been good at the tiger reserve. As many as 12 cubs, less than two-year-old, bear evidence to this. However, foresters are guarded while talking about the new arrivals. More so because divulging details "can always encourage poachers".
According to the last tiger census estimates, Dudhwa had 109 tigers in February, 2008. To offer necessary protection to tigers, the reserve has been divided into at least 25 sensitive zones for monitoring.
A tigress gives birth to at least six to eight cubs at a time and not more than two to three of them survive. Initial three months are crucial for their survival and if this period is crossed, hopes soar for cubs. DTR has many breedable tigresses and that is a good omen for tiger population of the reserve.
Another season of feline attacks in offing?
Lucknow: Tigers are out to turn the men away from sugarcane fields. The onset of the crushing season for the crop has marked the initial opening for man-animal conflict in Lakhimpur Kheri with the third such incident in the week being reported from Khutar range of Shahjahanpur on Tuesday.
"We are proceeding to the village," said Shailesh Prasad, director, Dudhwa tiger reserve (DTR) while talking to TOI on Tuesday evening. The man was injured by the tiger hiding in a sugarcane field. The feline charged at the man when he walked into the dense field unconscious of the tiger's presence. "At present we can best say that there has been no casualty," said Prasad.
The incident occurred outside the boundary of DTR. But the spot of incident, as shared by locals, could be 10 to 12 kms from Kishenpur sanctuary which lies in Lakhimpur Kheri and Shahjahanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh. The 203.4 sq km Kishenpur sanctuary, along with Dudhwa national park, forms the core area of DTR (884 sqkm) and houses a fair share of tiger population.
The villages in and around the sanctuary have seen several feline attacks so far. The latest encounters have been reported from Motipur and Kakraha ranges of Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuary. A tiger had ventured out of the forest to a village in Motipur. In Kakraha, it was a leopard on the prowl. Both incidents were reported within a week's time.
Foresters had to arrange a `hanka' to push back the tiger to the forest. Winters are the months when big cats move out of the forests. Such incidents are more frequent in Kheri and Katarniaghat forests. The high biotic pressure does not leave these forest areas an option for big cats. Currently, it could just be the beginning of the man-animal conflict for the season.