Dehradun: Uttarakhand may have come third in terms of tiger population in the latest census, but the state has registered an excellent tiger population growth in the past 13 years.
In the latest census, released on Monday in New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttarakhand stood third with 442 tigers. Madhya Pradesh led the table with 526 tigers and Karnataka followed with 524.
Wildlife experts claimed the population growth in Uttarakhand was much healthier as its area was small compared with Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
“We are certainly the number one state in terms of the tiger conservation programme,” Uttarakhand Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat said.
Stating that Uttarakhand is number one in terms of tiger food chain, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “The wildlife conservation is in the culture of state.”
According to 2006 census report, there were only 164 tigers in the state. But due to conservation efforts, its population showed remarkable improvement. In 2010 census, the tiger population rose to 227. Within four years in 2014, it jumped to 340.
Even in non-tiger conservation areas, the big cat’s number was on the rise, the Forest Minister said. Tigers were now present in all 13 districts of the state, he added.
Significantly, a tiger was sighted in the Kedarnath wildlife sanctuary at the height of 3,400 meters. A picture of tiger was captured recently by a camera trap at the sanctuary, home to leopards and snow leopards, Kedarnath Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Amit Kanwar said.
In 2016 also, a tiger was sighted in the area but the camera trap picture’s quality was not good. “This time the picture quality is very good,” said Kanwar.
The Forest Department would consult experts at the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) to understand the significance of tiger at such a height.
“We are not clear whether it is a male or a female tiger. Second, it’s also not clear whether the tiger is local or has migrated to the sanctuary from the plains,” he said.