The presence of a tiger has been confirmed in the country's eastern-most tiger protection areas, Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram bordering Bangladesh.
Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation in northeast India, also recognised by the ministry of science and technology, and the scientific and industrial research organisation, has achieved significant success in confirming the tiger presence in Dampa Tiger Reserve of Mizoram.
Aaranyak has successfully used DNA based analysis techniques for identifying tiger faecal samples, collected during a joint field survey effort of field directorate, Dampa Tiger Reserve, Aaranyak and WWF India in March 2012.
This work has been undertaken as part of all India Phase IV tiger monitoring programme initiated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India.
Dampa Tiger Reserve is situated in the western part of Mizoram state, with an area of 550 sq km at the international border with Bangladesh. The area consists of forest with a physically challenging terrain interpolated with hills, valleys, streams and rivulet. Dampa is a bio-diversity hotspot with a variety of flora and fauna of Indo-Malayan origin. National Tiger Reserve Authority has categorised Dampa Tiger Reserve as one of the low density tiger reserves in India, with a deficiency of data on the current population status of tigers in the area.
According to Udayan Borthakur, head of Wildlife Genetics Programme of Aaranyak, further efforts are on to find out the minimum number of tigers present in Dampa, through the use of DNA fingerprinting techniques. However, a technical report on confirmed presence of tigers has already been submitted to the field directorate, Dampa Tiger Reserve and NTCA.
Laltlanhlua Zathang, field director, Dampa Tiger Reserve informed that 27 scat samples on carnivores were collected during the joint field survey in Dampa Reserve during March 7 to 9. "I have received information from Aaranyak that their DNA laboratory has confirmed that out of those nine samples have been confirmed as tiger scat after laboratory examination."
He said it was very encouraging news and expressed gratitude to Aaranyak for volunteering to help in conservation of tigers in the thickly forested and hilly Dampa Tiger Reserve.