Tiger count stands at 288 in Madhya Pradesh

 Madhya Pradesh has nearly 288 tigers at present, state Forests Minister Dr Gaurishankar Shejwar said on Sunday.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 14, 2014, 17:30 PM IST

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh has nearly 288 tigers at present, state Forests Minister Dr Gaurishankar Shejwar said on Sunday.

The latest figure comes at a time when the state is working hard to regain the glory of being the 'Tiger State' which it lost to Karnataka during the last nationwide count of the big cats.

During the last tiger census, the number of tigers in this state had gone down to 257 from 300 in 2006. According to the last count, Karnataka was home to 300 striped animals.

There are 78 felines in Kanha Tiger Reserve, 72 in Bandhavgarh, 45 in Pench, 30 in Panna and 10 in Sanjay Gandhi Tiger Reserve, the minister told reporters here.

The rest of the tigers inhabited different forest areas of the state, he said.

"No one can give an exact count as the tigers don't queue up for the census," he said to a question on the exact number of felines in the state.

To another query, he said that a central government agency has been assigned to foresee the translocation of lions from Gujarat's Gir National Park to Madhya Pradesh.

Madhya Pradesh has readied the Kuno-Palpur wildlife sanctuary for housing the Gir lions, Shejwar said.

The plan to translocate some lions from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh was conceived to ensure that they do not become extinct in case of an outbreak of disease in that state, he said.

Meanwhile, the Satpura Tiger Reserve in Hoshangabad has been graded as a visitor-friendly wildlife destination for 2014 by a UK-based agency, he added.