Tiger census reports to be probed

Deccan Herald , Thursday, July 21, 2005
Correspondent : Staff Reporter
Did the big cats really exist in national parks of Rajasthan or the census reports always exaggerated figures. Confounded by the latest report of the Tiger Task Force, the state goverment is now going to get the previous census reports probed.

It has set up a one-member enquiry committee to look into exaggeration of tiger figures in the park since 1998. The committee will enquire if the number of tigers were inflated, what were the reasons behind it and how has the number of tigers decreased.

The committee will submit its report within a month, a government press release here said.

According to the forest and environment minister Laxmi Narain Dave, the state goverment wants to dispel the myth about the number of tigers and wants to put a tab on future census.

As per latest reports, Ranthambor National Park has just 26 tigers as compared to 40 reported in the census last year.

No tigers were found in the adjoining Kewla Devi sanctuary that had six big cats as per the last census.

The decrease in the number of wild cats is also being attributed to exaggeration of their actual population, apart from poaching, natural deaths and apathy of park officials over the years.

All past census were based on unscientific methods, the minister said. He also charged the previous Congress government of carelessness and making false claims about the number of tigers in Ranthambor and Sariska.

As there is no proven case of poaching in Ranthambor, the government suspects park authorities could have exaggerated the number.

The government is now training its guns on the Congress regime, holding it responsible for the situation.

SOURCE : Deccan Herald, Thursday, July 21, 2005

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