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Monday, June 25, 2012

Foresters search for tiger in Bundu

Alok K N Mishra, TNN Jun 23, 2012, 11.20PM IST Ranchi police|Ram Mohan Singh Munda|Mohan Singh|Kundan Pahan|Judicial Event|Jharkhand RANCHI: The state forest department has started a search for a stray tiger in Bundu forest, some 40 km from here. Regional chief conservator of forest (RCCF), Ranchi, D K Srivastava has formally asked the Ranchi and Khunti district forest officers and other officials to be on the alert. "The vigil for the tiger has been increased. Forest officials have been asked to hold talks with tribals, especially cattle grazers, for information about the big cat," said Srivastava. The development follows the reported killing of a Maoist by a stray tiger in Bundu forests recently. On June 17 Ranchi police had seized a letter purportedly written by the South Chhotanagpur Zonal Committee commander of the CPI(Maoist), Kundan Pahan, wherein he claimed that a friend of theirs was killed and eaten up by a stray tiger recently. Pahan had addressed the letter to another Maoist, Pragati Da. "A friend was killed and eaten by a tiger recently. It is a huge loss and a cause of great concern. I am just briefing you about the incident. I will tell you more when we meet," the letter says. The letter was recovered by police from an arrested Maoist, Ram Mohan Singh Munda, a close aide of Pahan. Munda was arrested from Tamar block last week. On a few occasions experts have come across stray tigers in the jungles of Jharkhand. "Although tiger is a territorial animal and prefer to live in a familiar geography, it cannot be denied that they venture out of their territories at times," said Khunti DFO K K Tripathi, under whose jurisdiction the Bundu forest falls. The officials are basically concentrating on finding pug marks, information about kills made by the tiger and tips from tribals. "In the last five days my officials in both the districts have contacted several tribals to gather information about the big cat but they have not come across anything substantial," said the RCCF. The RCCF has requested all concerned to provide the department with any information about tigers. Regional chief conservators of forests in the state directly monitor all the non-reserved forest areas. Jharkhand's forest department officials are of the view thinks that only six tigers live in Palamu Tiger Reserve, a 1000 sq km area. The figure has been obtained from last year's census. But experts believe that Jharkhand has more than six tigers. Jharkhand tiger man and member of the National Tiger Conservation Authority D S Srivastava said in the recent past tigers has been sighted in Hazaribag, Latehar, and Koderma districts. "After the news (of a Maoist falling prey to tiger) broke I have also alerted my sources in the forests to watch out for tigers," said Srivastava. "The Bundu forest is not as conducive for a tiger to live in as Saranda. There are chances that the big cat may have moved to Saranda. But the forest department should not stop searching just for this reason," Srivastava added. Certain parts of the 478-sq-km area of Bundu forest are inaccessible to tribals due to presence of Maoists. A thick forest corridor connects this forest through the jungles of Torpa and Raniya to Saranda. Police say Maoist commander Pahan has been hiding in the forests here.

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