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TelanganaTiger count up in Telangana

Tiger count up in Telangana

Published: 4th Dec 2021 12:07 am | Updated: 3rd Dec 2021 11:09 pm

Hyderabad: The tiger population in Telangana State is likely to be around 32 or even more, up from 26 in the last census in 2018-19, if one goes by the findings of the carnivore and herbivore sign survey conducted as part of the All India Tiger Estimates 2021-22. The survey covered 3,018 beats across the State.

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At present, there are 16 tigers in Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) limits and about 10 in Kawal Tiger Reserve (KTR) limits in the State. Going by the evidences noticed during the survey, the tiger population in the State had definitely gone up, a senior official from the Forest Department told ‘Telangana Today’.

The All India Tiger Estimates is generally taken up in three steps beginning with the carnivore and herbivore sign survey, a compilation of the data collected during the survey and sharing it with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and finally compiling the figure from images of tigers caught in camera traps.

The carnivore and herbivore sign survey was taken up across Telangana from October 22 to 29. Under this exercise, Forest Department officials used the specified survey methods to track wildlife movement. During the survey, officials check for pugmarks, scat, scratch marks on trees and other evidences of tiger movement in respective beats. Once they come across any of these evidences, they collect the data and upload it on special software.

“During the survey, staff members noticed tiger movement evidences in Kinnerasani, Pakala, Eturnagaram and neighbouring areas. This is a good sign and it indicates tiger movement in new areas in the State,” the official said. Since the survey has been completed, NTCA officials are now guiding the forest officials in uploading the collected data through special apps and software.

This will be followed by the installation of cameras to capture images of wild animals, especially tigers. These cameras are installed for about 25 days and all the captured images will be shared with NTCA for further analysis. During the survey, if any tiger’s image and other evidences are detected in a particular range, then it will be counted under the population of that particular forest.

Already, installation of cameras and capturing of images in one of the four blocks in ATR limits has been completed and officials have commenced installation of cameras in the second block. After analysing the images and evidences from across the country, the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, will compile the data and comes up with results. The entire exercise will take about a year, the official said.

Big cats making State their home

Instances of tigers moving into Telangana from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra are increasing due to increased green cover and prey population. Tigers from Andhra Pradesh have ventured into Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) by crossing River Krishna. Though it is normal practice, forest officials say a few have made the Telangana forests their home. Similar is the case with Kawal Tiger Reserve and neighbouring areas. Tigers from Maharashtra enter Telangana via Tadoba, Mahadevpur and Kagazhnagar. They swim across River Godavari when water levels recede during summer.

Apart from this route, they also enter Telangana through Bhainsa, Nirmal and Nizamabad areas and settle in Telangana limits due to better prey base and green cover. The increasing prey population include spotted deer, sambar, nilgai, wild boars and four-horned antelopes. The department has been extensively growing grasslands across the State. Grasslands draw deers that eventually lead to tigers following them and their movements are being regularly observed on the Kagazhnagar, Asifabad and Mulgu corridor, a senior official from the department said. Further, since last few years, the department has been constantly curbing unauthorised activities, especially poaching. All these factors are helping tigers enter the State, the official said.

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