Kaziranga has highest density of tiger population in world
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 29, 2010, 18:33
  
Guwahati: Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in Assam has the highest density of tigers in the world with 32 tigers per 100 sq km, according to a study.

Releasing the study report, Forest and Environment Minister Rockybul Hussain said, "KNP has the highest density of tigers compared to any tiger habitats in the world...It is a matter of pride for us that when in the rest of the country tiger population has gone down with only 1,411 of the species left, Kaziranga National Park has also recorded highest number of individual tigers as well."

The survey, conducted by the state forest department in collaboration with prominent environmental NGO 'Aaranyak' by using 'camera trap' method of tiger estimation, covered an area of 144 sq km of the central and western part of the park.

As many as 38 individual tigers -- 20 females, 15 males and three whose sex is yet to be determined, were photographed in the study area during the 50-day photo-trapping exercise carried between January and March 2009 .

All tigers, however, are unlikely to be photo-trapped in the study area and using the scientific method called 'capture recapture', as many as 47 tigers were estimated in the study area, Hussain said.

Cubs below one year of age were eliminated in density analysis.

The previously highest recorded density of tiger in a wildlife park was 19.6 tigers per 100 sq km recorded in the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The minister further said that the report has been submitted to the Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh who expressed happiness that a hope has been rekindled for the protection of the tiger which is fast disappearing from its range states throughout the world.

"It has also thrown up an opportunity to carry out an extensive tiger monitoring study covering the entire area of Kaziranga National Park," Hussain added.

This positive development has been possible due to the untiring efforts of the front-life staff who have worked under difficult conditions with limited facilities, he said.

The study team comprised members of Aaranyak under the supervision of Bibhab Talukdar with Park staff coordinated by Director S N Buragohain.

Biologist Firoz Ahmed, who led the team in the field, pointed out the latest study confirms that Kaziranga's alluvial grassland provides optimal habitats for tigers.

One of the key reasons for high tiger density in Kaziranga is abundance of prey animals including hog deer, sambar, swamp deer, Wild Boar, Hog badger, porcupine, wild buffalo, rhino and elephant, he said.

The study, which will continue this year, would next estimate prey density while continuing to monitor tiger population and sample eastern range of the Park to understand pattern of tiger density.

The study was sponsored by UK's David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and Rufford Small Grants Foundation, besides National Tiger Conservation Authority.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010, 18:33


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