Hyderabad

30 years later, tiger pug marks found near NTPC, Ramagundam

Trails left behind by a tiger in the contiguous forest of erstwhile Warangal and Karimnagar districts have kept forest authorities on tenterhooks for close to a month now, the latest being appearance of the pug marks near the NTPC power project of Ramagundam on Saturday.

The movement of the tiger is viewed as significant because the species had disappeared from these parts three decades ago. The big cat visited the NTPC reservoir, probably to drink water after a kill. The feline’s pug marks are said to have been first spotted in Eturunagaram wildlife area, from where it had crossed over to Jayashankar Bhupalapalli district. After making its presence felt there by cattle kill close to Tadicherla and Mahamutharam areas, the animal has apparently moved to Peddapalli district after crossing the Manair dam, where it has been roaming for over two weeks. It has made a second cattle kill in Peddapalli 10 days ago, said officials.

Sharing the details, Conservator of Forests, Warangal, M.J. Akbar said the feline is yet to be captured by the camera traps set up by the foresters. Pug marks and kills are the only evidence as of now, of its movements. Experts have been summoned from Kawal Tiger Reserve to track the animal, he said. Efforts are also on to educate farmers from the surrounding villages, and dissuade them from setting up traps for wild boars, as they could inadvertently kill the tiger by doing so. He conjectured that there are three locations from where the tiger might have strayed, namely the Kawal Tiger Reserve or Maharashtra’s tiger zones, or the Indravati National Park of Chhattisgarh.

‘Successful efforts’

Appearance of tiger in what had been erstwhile Warangal and Karimnagar districts, is a watershed moment for the Telangana forests, as the species had disappeared from these parts about 30 years ago. Though it is not a resident tiger of these parts, the latest instance is proof of the successful conservation efforts by the Telangana Forest Department, and the State government’s Telangana ku Haritha Haaram programme, says Mr. Akbar. “We have rejuvenated the degraded forests, and controlled wildlife poaching. Since we have adopted the grid-based approach for evaluating and replenishing water sources, and started protecting and growing grasslands, the prey base has improved,” he said. However, experts say that for an area to claim successful tiger conservation story, there should be a source population of 20 breeding females in the vicinity. The straying tigers could be spillovers from Maharashtra, where there is an excess population of the big cats.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 7:01:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/tiger-pug-marks-found-near-ntpc-ramagundam/article32653840.ece

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