Sunday 28 December 2014

NEWSLINK: Nepal poachers on prowl, tiger numbers down

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times New Delhi, November 26, 2014

First Published: 22:55 IST(26/11/2014) | Last Updated: 01:27 IST(27/11/2014)

The latest survey of the country’s tiger population shows big cat numbers have declined in north India, primarily due to poaching from across the border in Nepal and shrinking tiger habitats. 

The survey, done every four years by the National Tiger Conservation Authority with Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, shows tiger numbers in the Shivalik-Gangetic plains covering the three states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have come down to around 300 against about 320 four years ago.

“We are still verifying the ground data… the figure is not final,” an official told HT.

Forest department officials in Uttarakhand, who arrested over half a dozen tiger poachers in the past three years, said they saw an increase in the number of poachers from Nepal. Wildlife traffickers cross over to Nepal through the porous 1,751 km-long border India shares with the neighbouring country.

Officials said rising man-tiger conflict because of deteriorating habitat around the Corbett National Park was another area of concern.

“Habitat loss, leading to man-tiger conflict and increased pressure of poachers, have dented Corbett’s image,” a senior government official said, adding the national park may not see an increase in tiger numbers this time.

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