THE TIGER count in at least two of Assam’s four reserves has registered a growth since the tiger census conducted last year, and the authorities expect a similar trend in the remaining two reserves for the big cats in the state.
Manas National Park has recorded the presence of 30 tigers, including six sub-adults, and preliminary report from Orang National Park has put the figure at 28.
While the preliminary figure for Kaziranga National Park is not out yet, officials said they expect it to cross the 140-mark. Preliminary figure from Nameri National Park, the fourth tiger reserve in Assam, is also not announced yet.
“We have recorded the presence of 30 tigers in the just-concluded census, which is a big jump from 14 in the last count. The last time, however, we could not cover the Panbari sector, which covers about one-third of Manas (national park’s) area,” its field director H K Sarma said.
Manas, which had regained the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2011 after having lost it due to massive destruction of forests and wildlife during the peak of insurgency, will have more tigers if the contiguous Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan is also taken into account.
Of 24 adult tigers in Manas, 12 are male and 11 female; the sex of one tiger could not be determined, Sarma said. “We believe the actual figure would be more, given that tigers have a tendency of hiding their cubs,” he said.
Sunnydeo Choudhary, the field director of Orang, said the national park has not only recorded an increase of four tigers since the last count, but would also vie for being named as the area with the world’s highest density of tiger presence. “Going by preliminary estimates, Orang has a density of 35.44 tigers per 100 sq km. Once that is confirmed by NTCA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) and the Wildlife Institute of India, Orang will have a different kind of global distinction,” he said.
Kaziranga national park’s director Satyendra Singh said. “Kaziranga is a large area, and compilation of (preliminary census) data will take at least 20 more days.” An optimistic Singh, however, said Kaziranga’s tiger count is likely to reach 140 — up from 116 in 2014.