RANCHI: The Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) is witnessing a fast decline in the population of tigers because the reserve lacks animals tigers can prey on. In the last 10 years, 36 tigers have gone traceless from the reserve and forest guards posted there attribute this to the lack of rarely found spotted deer, blue-bulls, deer and other animals, tigers like to feast upon.
A high-level delegation of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), which was in Ranchi on Saturday expressed concern over the decreasing number of deers in the reserve. The team which visited the reserve on Friday said it will write to the Wildlife Institute of India ( WII), Dehradun to conduct a prey population survey at the PTR at the earliest. of the survey would help authorities plan to naturally breed and allow them into the jungles to help the big cats prey.
“The NTCA is ready to finance it all. The PTR officials have been asked to come to Delhi and make a presentation of their plans to increase the prey population,” said a source in the NTCA.
As many as 36 tigers have gone missing from the PTR between 2003 and 2009. According to a 2003 tiger census, there were 42 tigers in the PTR. The number witnessed a sharp decline and in 2009 only six tigers were found.
“The NTCA team has said the survey of the prey population will help us in conserving the big cats. In recent times, the number of small herbivores has gone down a little,” said S E H Kazmi, director of the PTR.
Sources in the PTR said dwindlinghas forced , leopards and other carnivore animals to sneak into the 199 villages situated inside the reserve area and kill domestic animals. “The reports of carnivores killing domestic animals are frequent now,” said the official.
The NTCA team reviewed all such aspects during their daylong visit to the reserve in Daltonganj district on Friday.
The team which called upon forest secretary and other senior officers here on Saturday has given their feedback to the officials. The team included member secretary NTCA Dr Rajesh Gopal, inspector general NTCA H S Negi and deputy inspector general S P Yadav.
Principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) A K Malhotra said, “NTCA has recommended the survey of prey population to help us manage the prey population in a scientific manner. The only purpose is to make sure that the tigers do not leave the reserve owing to lack of food.”