B SridharB Sridhar, TNN Feb 21, 2012, 07.28AM IST
JAMSHEDPUR: Speculation over the presence of the big cat in the Saranda forest was put to rest,when the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, confirmed the presence of the tiger here recently. The divisional forest officer,K K Tiwary, however, clarified that the institute has not suggested the specific number of tigers. In its preliminary report, the institute confirmed the pug marks that were sent by the forest officials for examination last year.
"The preliminary report has confirmed the presence of a tiger in the Gua area of the forest cover but for further confirmation we need to have visual evidence," said Tiwary. In November last year, the forest department traced pug marks beside the carcass of a bison suggesting an attack by a tiger. Thereafter, the pug marks were collected using tracing paper and plaster of Paris and were sent to the Betla Project Tiger office for examination. "Betla officials sent the pug marks to Dehradun, which examined the evidences and confirmed the pug marks," said Tiwary.
Since then, the department has been on the lookout for evidence. "The possibility of tigers straying into the West Singhbhum area from Simplipal cannot be ruled out. So we need visual evidence before we confirm their resident status," said Tiwary.
He also said since November last there has been no report of animal casualty involving an attack by a tiger or tigress. Saranda, spread over 850 sq km, has about 1,000 cheetals, 300 sambars and 25 bisons, according to the last census. "Till a few decades ago, there were tigers in Saranda but over the years their number has declined," said a forest conservator, adding, "Saranda was home to wild boars, barking deer and antelope which suggest their predator's (tiger) presence nearby."