The Times of India reported on May 23, 2016 that the 344 sq km Nameri Tiger Reserve (NTR) in Assam’s Sonitpur district has an estimated five to eight tigers, according to the latest assessment of predators and prey status report.
The assessment, carried out between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that NTR, located on the northern banks of Brahmaputra, is a low density tiger reserve with tiger density varying from 1.3 to 1.5 tigers per 100 square km.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)’s assistant inspector general of forest, Rajendra G. Garawad, who was the divisional forest officer of western Assam wildlife division during the assessment period, said that the study also threw up for the first time the tiger dispersal between Kaziranga Tiger Reserve (KTR) and NTR.
KTR is located on the southern banks of Brahmaputra. The aerial distance between KTR and NTR is approximately 65 km.
Garawad said that during the assessment it was documented that a male tiger which was captured in camera at KTR in 2011 was also photographed at NTR in 2012-13, confirming that big cats use corridors between the two tiger reserves. This finding also called for management of tiger dispersal corridors and extensive awareness campaigns for local communities.
The assessment report, released on Sunday on the occasion of International Biodiversity Day at Potasali near NTR, revealed a total of 36 species including seven wild cats (tiger, leopard, clouded leopard, jungle cat, golden cat, marbled cat and leopard cat) and five ungulates (sambar, gaur, barking deer, hog deer and wild boar) captured during three years of camera-trap exercise.
The report said the NTR has a leopard population ranging from five to eight individuals with a density of 1.59 to 4.55 leopard per 100 sq km. In case of the elusive clouded leopard, it is estimated that there are four individuals.
“Existing anti-poaching initiatives needs to be further strengthened and consolidated for long term conservation of tiger in this landscape. There is a need for management interventions like creating new anti-poaching camps and patrolling paths in strategic locations, intensifying the existing patrolling regime and restoring degraded habitats,” the report suggested.
Meanwhile Odisha estimates a tiger count of 40 individuals and talks of reintroduction are on the horizon.
A year after National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) downgraded the tiger population, the estimation carried out by Odisha Government on Wednesday put the big cat population in the State at 40, at least 12 more than what the All-India Tiger Estimation 2014 projected. It also hinted at reintroduction of tigers in Satkosia which has been a low-density tiger reserve (TR).
The enumeration, carried out during February and April, reveals that Similipal Landscape remains the most populous habitat with 29 tigers. In Similipal core and estimates a total of 26 tigers: 14 females and 9 males. In Karanjia Division, there are three tigers, Secretary to Forest and Environment Department Suresh Chandra Mohapatra told a media conference.
The tiger population estimation was conducted using camera-traps as well as pug impression pads (PIP). The Wildlife Wing used over 20,000 PIPs and installed 448 camera traps out of which 315 were laid in Similipal alone. The exercise was carried out in Similipal TR twice in February and April.
Mohapatra said the Department is trying to relocate human settlements and provide inviolate space to the tigers. “We hope in the next five years, the population would go up significantly, considering tiger status of Satkosia, the Department is seriously contemplating reintroduction which has been successfully attempted in other TRs. We have to work towards such a plan. It might take two to three years,” he said.
Chief Wildlife Warden Sidhanta Das said the Wildlife Wing is in the process of roping in famous tiger expert Dr. Ullas Karanth for imparting scientific enumeration methods to forest officers. “We are preparing long term plans for improvement of tiger habitats and strengthening the prey base,” he added.