Guwahati, April 25 (IANS) In a significant development, a team of wildlife researchers has, after a scientific survey, confirmed the presence of tigers in the Dampa reserve in Mizoram.
The survey was conducted jointly by the Dampa forest reserve's field directorate, Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation.
This survey has been undertaken as part of the all-India Phase IV tiger monitoring programme initiated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority of India (NTCA). The exact number of tigers in Dampa is not yet clear, but the last census in 2012 had put the figure at five.
"We are yet to confirm the exact number of tigers present in the reserve. We have used DNA-based analysis techniques for identifying tiger faecal samples," said Laltlanhlua Zathang, Dampa Tiger Reserve's field director, while talking to IANS.
"Most of the reserve is inaccessible due to hilly terrain and dense forest. The DNA analyses of the samples have confirmed that there is a presence of the big cat in the reserve. Now, we are going to use the camera trapping method to find out the exact number of tigers there," said Dr. Anupam Sharma, a WWF official working on the project.
"It will take another two months to find out the exact numbers of tiger in Dampa," Sharma said.
The last tiger census, conducted country-wide in 2010, estimated the presence of only five tigers in Dampa.
The NTCA had also categorised Dampa as one of the low density tiger reserves in India, with a deficiency of data on the current population status of tigers.
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