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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toil to trace tiger turns futile

Bagish K Jha, TNN | Mar 20, 2012, 01.18AM IST INDORE: After keeping the forest officials on their toes for more than a month, tiger in Choral forest range is believed to have moved on to some other neighbouring territory. "For the last 15 days, there has been no trace of the tiger. We believe that it might have migrated to adjoining Dewas or Barwani forest ranges. The DFOs of the adjoining areas have been alerted and told to keep a track on the tiger's movement," said chief conservator of forest (CCF) P C Dubey. "Though the big cats keep on straying from one place to another, we are hopeful that the richness of Choral forest range might bring the tiger back. Choral range has thick forest with good prey base, which is the basic characteristic of a tiger's habitat," he added. He further said the landscape management strategy for the protection of big cats is in place and there is a huge possibility that the region may turn into a permanent tiger habitat. The department had confirmed the presence of tiger for the first time on February 4 last on the basis of pug marks, scratches on tree and other evidences. Since then, the department has been keeping a tab on pug marks of the tiger. Also, there were reports of cattle lifting and killing of other animals in the range. Few villagers too claimed to have seen the tiger. But during the last two weeks, none of these was reported. When contacted, former PCCF (Wildlife), P M Lad said, "Choral range did not have tigers for the past 30 years. But the condition of forest has improved significantly over the years. The forest is dense with good water reserve and herbivorous population. However, a big cat takes time to adapt itself to a new area. If any tiger stays in a particular area for more than a-year-and-a-half, then only it can be termed a tiger territory. Former PCCF J J Dutta said the tigers are very particular about their territory and they take long to select and adapt to a new territory. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun had reported about the possible presence of seven tigers in the region for first time in its survey report released in July 2011. The survey had specifically mentioned Dabal Chowki, Kalakund, Choral, Punjarapura, Rajpura and Surtipura as suitable places for tiger habitat in Choral forest range.

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