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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Buxa tiger census in Feb

By Pinak Priya Bhattacharya, TNN | Jan 23, 2013, 05.23 AM IST JALPAIGURI: Nearly 100 teams - each comprising five men - of the forest department will conduct a tiger census in the Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) next month. The volunteers will be trained in the first week of February and several NGOs are expected to join the exercise. According to the last census, there are 19 tigers in the BTR. "There are 48 beats in the forest that is spread over 750 sq km. Nearly 100 teams will conduct the census," said BTR field director RP Saini. The volunteers will scan pug marks, collect tiger scat and look for other evidences to arrive at the number of tigers in the reserve. In BTR, pug marks and tiger scat indicate that there has been an increase in their number in the past few years, claim forest officials. Once almost wiped out, the striped beauty has succeeded to turn around here and now regular sightings are reported in Jayanti, Rajabhatkhawa, Nimti, Sankosh and Kumargram areas of the forest. "Our workers report sightings twice or thrice in a week. Tigers are mostly seen in core areas like Jayanti and Rajabhatkhawa. But recently, they were also sighted in other areas like Sankosh and Kumargram", said a senior forest official of BTR. However, some contradict this claim as there hasn't been a single attack on cattle or any human being in the last 10 years though there are several villages in the core area. Wild-life enthusiasts believe tiger sighting in north Bengal is low due to three reasons. Firstly, tiger is a nocturnal animal. Secondly, their number is very low to be seen in a huge forest like the BTR and finally, high density of forestland also works as a hindrance for sighting. "Kaziranga has the highest number of tiger population in the country. Yet sighting is very low. This is because of the high density of the forest," said Animesh Bose of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.

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