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Tiger population falls in Bihar's Valmiki National Park

Last updated on: May 18, 2005 16:57 IST

The tiger population is not only in decline in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, but in Bihar too.

The tiger population is decreasing at an alarming rate in the Valmiki National Park, Bihar's only tiger project, according to reports of the latest tiger census there.

A senior forest official told that the number of tigers in the Valmiki Tiger Project is only 35 as per the census.

According to sources in the wildlife department in Patna, the tiger population has decreased in the state in the last five years.

Last month, a special census was conducted to count the number of tigers in the Valmiki Tiger Project in the West Champaran district.

The census was conducted following the directive of the central forest ministry in the wake of reports of the disappearance of tigers in several of India's wildlife reserves.

Officials involved in the census took the help of local villagers and cattle grazers to zero in on tiger-leopard favourite spots, dry riverbeds, watering holes and forest paths.

Top officials of the wildlife department are tightlipped about the number of tigers spotted during the census in the Valmiki Tiger Project.

"The tiger population in the Valmiki Tiger Project was not encouraging, but 35 is not the final number. We have to look into it again," said B A Khan, chief of wildlife conservation in the state.

A special team of forest officials will visit the Valmiki Tiger Project by the end of this month to study the results of the latest census.

Officials of the forest department said there were 52 tigers in the Valmiki National Park according to the 2003 tiger census.

The census had indicated that there were 56 tigers in 2002.

In 1990, there were an estimated 80 tigers and 31 leopards in the Valmiki National Park.

Their population decreased due to poaching as reported from time to time.

Forest officials admit that the tiger population is on the decline in all the three wildlife reserves in the state, including West Champaran, Jamui and Kaimur districts due to population pressure, poaching and deforestation.

The total population of tigers in India as estimated during the last census in 2001-02 was 3,642.


Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna