By Chinmayi Shalya
The number of tigers in Maharashtra are increasing, says the latest census. The numbers are either stable or rising in other states too. But wildlife experts still see red over conservation efforts, which are hampered by rampant poaching and construction of infrastructure projects in forest areas. While the source population has been better protected in most states including Maharashtra since 2006, the offspring dispersing to areas beyond the core sanctuary fall prey to poaching and human development, said experts.
As per the latest data, the average number of tigers in Maharashtra grew from 103 in 2006 to 168 in 2011. Other states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam and the Western Ghats region too saw a rise in the tiger population, reveals new surveys conducted by using camera traps.
"This is primarily due to some measures taken by the various states. For instance, Maharashtra has declared five new tiger sanctuaries in last three years and brought 620 sq km area under legal cover. These new sanctuaries are in strategic locations for the breeding and safe dispersal of tigers. No other states have declared so many sanctuaries for the tigers. The government has also relocated over 17 villages from core areas of tiger sanctuaries," said Kishor Rithe, member, national board of wildlife.
Rithe, however, points out that these figures are only a mirage as bigger perils still threaten the survival of tigers.
According to experts, poaching is a crime more ignored and undetected. More....