Panaji: Goa wildlife census has indicated
the presence of tigers atleast in four places in the coastal
state confirming claims of environmentalists that the tourist
destination is a home to the big cat.
According to state forest department officials tiger
pug marks and scat were found in two wildlife sanctuaries, a
corridor of Sahyadri mountain ranges running through states of
Goa, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
A senior forest department officer confirmed indirect
evidences of the wild cat at Mhadei and Mollem National Park.
The census was held from April 27- May 4 across all
the wildlife sanctuaries and government-owned reserve forests.
Forest department officials and volunteers engaged in
week-long wildlife census, have found tiger scat at Surla and
Nandran localities in Mollem National Park, 80 kms from here.
Nandran was a human habitation of 14 houses within the
sanctuary, which was rehabilitated by offering alternate
dwellings and land plots by the state forest department.
The tiger pug marks were also found in two places at
the catchment area of Anjunem dam, an irrigational facility
constructed on Goa-Karnataka border.
The census has recorded pug marks of a tiger and cubs
in the area which was also earlier inhabited by humans.
Three villages were shifted from the catchment area
during construction of this dam in North-East Goa in 80s.
The forest department will be sending the prints of
these pug marks for forensic testing at Dehradun based
Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
Environmental NGOs had began a campaign for last
couple of years seeking to declare the state`s forest as tiger
habitats. But Goa government is against such a move claiming
that the tigers present in the wild were migratory animals
from neighbouring states.