Ooty: When the nation observed International Tiger Day on Monday, the result of the 2018 tiger census declared brought cheer, as the tiger population in the entire Nilgiris, that includes the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), showed a near 35 per cent to 40 per cent increase when compared to the last census in 2014.
K.K. Kaushal, field director of the MTR, said that the resident tiger population in the MTR, including the core and buffer zones, is around 70. With 40 moving tigers in the MTR places, the figure comes to 110 tigers in MTR alone. Moreover, there are about 40 tigers in other parts of the Nilgiris. So the tiger population figure is around 150 in the Nilgiris now, he added.
“Strict jungle vigilance setting up anti-poaching camps deep inside the jungles, forest intelligence, co-operation from people living in and around the MTR are the key reasons for a good rise in tiger population in the Nilgiris jungles. In the MTR alone, there are 17 anti-poaching camps in the core zone and 13 in the buffer zone. Each camp is manned by five staff, mostly tribal youth. Moreover, there are camera traps in the MTR to record the movement of tigers,” Mr.Kaushal noted.
Forest department sources said that during the tiger census in 2006, the tiger population was around 60 in the Nilgiris including around 45 in the MTR. In 2010, this rose to 80 in the Nilgiris with a population of 62 in the MTR alone. In the 2014 census, the tiger population in the Nilgiris was estimated to be around 100-105 with around 80 tigers in the MTR alone.
Now, in the 2018 census it has touched the three figure mark of 110 in the MTR alone. Apart from the MTR, in the Nilgiris forest division, Mukurthi National Park and Gudalur forest division in Nilgiris, the tiger population is estimated to be around 40 in the 2018 census. When pooled together, the 2018 census revealed that there are about 140-150 tigers on the whole of the Nilgiris, including the 110 in MTR limits alone, sources explained.
Meanwhile, Mr. N. Mohanraj, consultant, WWF India, said the presence of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and Nagerhole forests in Karnataka and Waynad forests in Kerala, Sathyamangalam jungles in the foothills of Nilgiris, which are all bordering the MTR makes Nilgiris the perfect landscape for the tigers to live. “Since the tiger is a territorial animal, a resident tiger implies a tiger which has settled down in a particular territory. Tigers whose movements are recorded in the border areas are known as moving tigers. These moving tigers are generally the young ones which try to fix their territory,” he added.