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Orang has 2nd highest tiger density

By Correspondent

MANGALDAI, Nov 22 � The Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park in Darrang district, considered to be the only natural habitat for the one-horned rhino on the North bank of the Brahmaputra, is soon going to be the highest tiger density forest in India.

According to a latest tiger status report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Government of India, the Orang National Park is only 0.15/100 sq km unit density behind the Corbett National Park with the highest tiger density of 17.83/100sq km. Meanwhile, the recent spotting of a couple of tiger cubs in Orang NP has made the nature lovers and the forest staff here very much hopeful of securing the number one position in the country by the end of this year surpassing the Corbett NP.

It may be mentioned that a couple of tiger cubs (approx. 3 months old) with their mother have been spotted by the staff of Jhaoni camp of the Park twice in the past 10 days. The tiger births have brought cheers to the entire staff and officials of the park which is home to at least 18 tigers now. The camera trap census conducted jointly by the Forest department and �Aaranyak� put the figures of individual tigers in the park as 14 and 16 (13 adults + 3 cubs) in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The cameras will be installed next month as well for 2011 census.

On the other hand, due to high density of tigers, they sometimes stray outside the park and kill cattle of fringe villagers who in turn resort to retaliatory tiger poisoning. In the past six years, only as many as seven cases of tiger poisoning have been reported. With a view to stop such �man-tiger conflict� the park authorities reportedly signed an MoU with the WWF-India last year for paying ex-gratia of Rs 2500 per cattle as per govt norms to the owners of cattle killed outside the park but not for the cattle killed inside the park. All 38 pending exgratia cases since 2007 will also be covered under the MoU. The money has been received and will be disbursed to the cattle owners shortly. Last year, the number of cattle killed outside the park was as high as 12. While there was only one case of tiger poisoning in 2010, there has been no such case in 2011 so far. The park authority has also launched an awareness campaign against the tiger poisoning in the affected villages which reportedly evoked good response from the villagers.

It is significant to note that in spite of tremendous pressure due to huge human and cattle population around the park, the tiger population is increasing. This may be attributed to good habitat and adequate prey base, besides strict protection measures in the park. Tiger is one of the species which propagate extremely slowly due to several factors including high mortality in cubs (approx. 50 per cent).

The latest tiger status report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, has proved that with a density of 17.68/100sq km, the Orang National Park has recorded maximum numbers of tigers than several tiger reserves in the country including Manas Tiger Reserve and Nameri Tiger Reserve but much to the surprise to the nature lovers of Darrang, the government has not yet declared it either as a Tiger Reserve or covered it under �Project Tiger�. The park management could have been done more scientifically and efficiently if it is brought under the Project Tiger as the funds received now are not sufficient to undertake the desired management activities.

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Orang has 2nd highest tiger density

MANGALDAI, Nov 22 � The Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park in Darrang district, considered to be the only natural habitat for the one-horned rhino on the North bank of the Brahmaputra, is soon going to be the highest tiger density forest in India.

According to a latest tiger status report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, Government of India, the Orang National Park is only 0.15/100 sq km unit density behind the Corbett National Park with the highest tiger density of 17.83/100sq km. Meanwhile, the recent spotting of a couple of tiger cubs in Orang NP has made the nature lovers and the forest staff here very much hopeful of securing the number one position in the country by the end of this year surpassing the Corbett NP.

It may be mentioned that a couple of tiger cubs (approx. 3 months old) with their mother have been spotted by the staff of Jhaoni camp of the Park twice in the past 10 days. The tiger births have brought cheers to the entire staff and officials of the park which is home to at least 18 tigers now. The camera trap census conducted jointly by the Forest department and �Aaranyak� put the figures of individual tigers in the park as 14 and 16 (13 adults + 3 cubs) in 2009 and 2010 respectively. The cameras will be installed next month as well for 2011 census.

On the other hand, due to high density of tigers, they sometimes stray outside the park and kill cattle of fringe villagers who in turn resort to retaliatory tiger poisoning. In the past six years, only as many as seven cases of tiger poisoning have been reported. With a view to stop such �man-tiger conflict� the park authorities reportedly signed an MoU with the WWF-India last year for paying ex-gratia of Rs 2500 per cattle as per govt norms to the owners of cattle killed outside the park but not for the cattle killed inside the park. All 38 pending exgratia cases since 2007 will also be covered under the MoU. The money has been received and will be disbursed to the cattle owners shortly. Last year, the number of cattle killed outside the park was as high as 12. While there was only one case of tiger poisoning in 2010, there has been no such case in 2011 so far. The park authority has also launched an awareness campaign against the tiger poisoning in the affected villages which reportedly evoked good response from the villagers.

It is significant to note that in spite of tremendous pressure due to huge human and cattle population around the park, the tiger population is increasing. This may be attributed to good habitat and adequate prey base, besides strict protection measures in the park. Tiger is one of the species which propagate extremely slowly due to several factors including high mortality in cubs (approx. 50 per cent).

The latest tiger status report released by the National Tiger Conservation Authority, has proved that with a density of 17.68/100sq km, the Orang National Park has recorded maximum numbers of tigers than several tiger reserves in the country including Manas Tiger Reserve and Nameri Tiger Reserve but much to the surprise to the nature lovers of Darrang, the government has not yet declared it either as a Tiger Reserve or covered it under �Project Tiger�. The park management could have been done more scientifically and efficiently if it is brought under the Project Tiger as the funds received now are not sufficient to undertake the desired management activities.