NTCA report on tiger densitysee http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-19/guwahati/30419386_1_tiger-density-tiger-reserves-big-cat-population
It's a time of glory for Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park. The latest National Tiger Conservation Authority's (NTCA) report on tiger density that was released recently pegged Orang, which lies on the northern bank of Brahmaputra and about 150 km from here, as boasting the second highest tiger density in the country after Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand.
According to the NTCA report - 'Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India, 2010' - Corbett leads in tiger density with 17.83 tigers per 100 square km while Orang comes in a close second with 17.68 per 100 square km.
Kaziranga, which had the highest tiger density last year, is in the fourth position after Bandhavgarh tiger reserve this year. The NTCA report said Kaziranga's tiger density is 15.92 per 100 square km while Bandhavgarh's is 16.25 per 100 square km.
Last year's camera trap analysis for tiger density estimation in Kaziranga, carried out over an area of 144 square km, threw up a figure of 32 tigers per 100 square km. Kaziranga National Park has a total area of 430 square km.
"Last year, Kaziranga's tiger estimate was done over 144 square km and the density was recorded at 32 tigers per 100 square km, which is the highest among tiger reserves in the country. The latest NTCA report, however, covers 433 square km of Kaziranga's area and has revealed a tiger density of 15.92 per 100 square km," said M Firoz Ahmed, one of the wildlife biologists involved in tiger estimation in the state.
The densities of two other tiger reserves in the state - Manas and Pakke-Nameri - are 1.79 per 100 square km and 7.13 per 100 square km respectively.
The high tiger density in the 74 square km area of Orang indicates a healthy big cat population in the national park. "We are extremely happy that Orang has the second highest tiger density in the country. Two tiger cubs, about three months old, with their mother were also spotted by our staff at Jhaoni camp of the park in the past 10 days. The new births have added to the big cat population and brought cheer to all of us," Mangaldoi wildlife divisional officer, Sushil Kumar Daila, said.
On the flipside, the increased tiger density has become also a cause for concern for the Orang authorities. "Tigers often stray out of the park and kill cattle in fringe villages because of high density of population. This has led to retaliatory tiger poisoning by villagers. There have been seven cases of tiger poisoning in the area over the past six years," Daila said.
Last year, 12 cattle were killed by tigers outside the park. There was only one case of tiger poisoning last year while there has been no such case this year so far. "We signed an MoU with WWF-India last year for paying ex-gratia at the rate of Rs 2,500 per cattle killed by tigers outside the park. All 38 pending ex-gratia cases since 2007 will also be covered under the MoU. The money has been received and will be disbursed among the cattle-owners shortly," Daila added. Conservationists have raised the ante for declaring Orang a tiger reserve. However, the small geographical area of the park has thrown a spanner in the works and has prevented the park from being declared a tiger reserve.