The big cat count at Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) is all set to increase as eight of them were spotted in its division-1 alone during the ongoing annual tiger census monitored by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
There are two divisions in the VTR. In 2010, eight tigers were spotted in the core area of the reserve, sprawling over 598sqkm. This time, the division-1 alone has equated the record.
Apart from tigers, golden cat and leopard cats were also spotted for the first time at the VTR during the ongoing census.
A senior officer associated with the census work at the VTR told The Telegraph on Sunday: “The census work at Govardhana, Raghia and Manguraha ranges under the division-1 has been completed. Total eight tigers have been spotted in camera traps in this division only, whereas the total number of tigers at this reserve according to the census done by the Government of India earlier was claimed to be eight. We are now almost certain that the official count of tigers in this reserve would be around 18. The census in the division-2 of the reserve would start in the next week.”
Maximum tiger movement was spotted in the Manguraha range. The number of tigers in the range has increased significantly after the Supreme Court stopped stone mining there in 2004.
The tiger count at the reserve started from January 15 using 120 camera traps, installed in pairs. The same cameras would be installed in the division-2 of the reserve, which comprises Ganhauli, Chiutaha, Valmiki Nagar and Harnatar range.
Jimmy Borah, the national coordinator for Tiger Programme of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), India, told The Telegraph: “The spotting of eight tigers in the division-1 of VTR is quite encouraging. Apart from VTR, the census work is simultaneously going on at Dudhwa and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuaries in Uttar Pradesh, some parts of Corbett Tiger Landscape in Uttarkhand and Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve in Nepal to avoid duplication in counting.”