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Tiger census initial reports show upward trend in UP

Lucknow: There could be a good news for the wildlife lovers as the preliminary analysis of the ongoing census of tigers in the forests of Uttar Pradesh indicates that their numbers might have increased.

The tiger census, which is presently going on through the camera-trap-method has shown an upward trend, though the complete results will be available in March only, chief conservator of forests, Uttar Pradesh B K Patnaik said.

The census work in Dudhwa national park and Pilibhit is complete, while it was underway in Katariyaghat and Kishunpur and as per the reports available, the number of the wild cats appears to be on the rise, he said.

As per the 2007 census, there were 110 tigers and 208 leopards in the state forests, while the number of tigers in the country stood at 1,400.

The tiger density in Uttar Pradesh is one tiger per 25 sq kms, as against around 10 to 11 sq kms in Uttarakhand, sources said, attributing this difference mainly to better forest cover ensuring easy availability of herbivores.

Sources in the state forest department said that the camera trap method is likely to give a more accurate number of tigers present in the forests.

Cameras are installed at strategic points, like water bodies in the forest area, where the tigers go for water, in their respective territories and a computer analysis is carried out to ascertain their presence.

Though there has been concern over the rise in the cases of man-animal conflict in UP forest areas, with at least three cases reported this year itself from around the Katarniyaghat wildlife sanctuary, efforts are on to take the help of people living on the fringes of forests, besides NGOs to create awareness.

As many as 16 human lives have lost in these conflicts since the beginning of 2010.

Because of rising incidents of man-animal conflict, the department is also working on constant monitoring, grassland development management and means to minimise human/ cattle presence in the forest areas by providing alternate sources of energy and livelihood to the people residing on the fringes of forests, he said.

The 70 kms long railway track running through Dudhwa and Katarniyaghat forests has brought in more trouble to the tigers.

Several cases of the wild cats being run over by trains have been reported in the past years, though the speed limit has been fixed at 30 KMPH.

The department has been writing to the Railways to find out a permanent solution for it but to little avail till now, sources added.

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