Chennai, July 30 (BPNS)
The Tiger population of Tamil Nadu has taken a giant leap with the number of big cats increasing four fold in the state. It may be recalled that in 2006 the number of tigers in the forests of Tamil Nadu was 76 but presently it has touched 306.
The number of Tigers was released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wild Life Institute of India (WII) during the occasion of Global Tiger Day on Saturday.
It is to be noted that in the last Tiger census of 2018, the number of Tigers in Tamil Nadu forests were 264 and in the latest census it has touched 306. This means that in the past five years there is a growth of 42 Tigers in Tamil Nadu forest area.
The state has five Tiger reserves which are Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Klakkad -Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR), Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), Sirivilliputtur Megamalai Tiger Reserve( SMTR) and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve(STR).
The Madumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) has the highest number of Tigers among the five Tiger reserves of Tamil Nadu. According to the census, the number of resident Tigers in MTR is 114 while there are 167 tigers that are using the reserve by moving in and out of it.
Senior Forest officials of Tamil Nadu said that the increase in coverage of forest reserves and sustained efforts including anti- poaching measures and awareness against poaching have led to the increase in Tiger population.
However the officials said that there wont be a major increase in the number of Tigers in the next census as the numbers have reached a saturation point.
Akash Deep Baruah ,PCCF (Project Tiger) told media persons that the number of anti-poaching watchers in Tamil Nadu now stands at 902 and spread across 238 anti- poaching camps in five Tiger reserves of the state. He said that the measures taken by the Tamil Nadu forest department to prevent poaching has helped contain the killing of the big cats.
NTCA officials said that there was an urgent need to contain the spread of invasive species of plants in the Tiger reserves to protect the natural flora, fauna, soil and habitat as a whole.
The man- animal conflict is another major issue that has to be addressed for the survival of Tigers and other wild species in the Western Ghats, the officials said.