The first ever tiger survey was conducted in the forest of the north-eastern state of Manipur since the past few days, forest officials said.
The survey was conducted to verify the report of presence of tiger in Manipur, particularly in the forest of Tamenglong and Senapati districts, and also as part of subsequent all Indian tiger population estimation exercise.
The survey has begun at Chingkao, Bunning under Tamenglong district and Chakha area under Senapati district of the State with experts from Wildlife Institute of India and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Government of India under the aegis of principal chief conservator of forest, wildlife cum chief wildlife warden, Manipur.
The Chingkao team, Bunning team and Chakha team were led by divisional forest officer Arun R S of Tamenglong district and it was attended by range forest officers S Khogen Singh of Tamei sub-division and Kh Hitler Singh of Tamenglong along with supporting staffs and local volunteers.
Reports said that several signs of Sambar and Serow hoof mark and droppings were found in plenty during the survey in Chakha area last week. An awareness programme was also held under the theme of protection of Asian elephant and its habitats at the same village.
The survey covers a total area measuring around 600 sq km which were projected as potential area a senior state forest official said when contacted. The survey team detected pugmarks of clouded leopard/leopard cat, scatch mark on tree, bark of Himalayan black bearmpelets of various ungulate species, hood marks of ungulates, sighting of hillock gibbon in Chakha etc.
“The survey is targeted to complete by March end,” the official added.
It is a known fact that tiger is on the apex of the food chain in a forest eco-system; hence its presence would indicate the good health of the habitat and availability of habitat for various co-predators and herbivores.
If the presence of tigers is noticed, it will be a great achievement for the State to develop tiger tourism in the State, sources said.
Sources said the State Forest department may go for introduction of tigers from other parts of the country as done in various tiger reserves with the help of NTCA if the habitat is found. The reports are being received regularly from the villagers of these areas regarding movement of tigers.
Earlier, for the smooth conduct of the survey, relevant training programme of forest field staff of the State had already been organized under the aegis of NTCA and the State Forest Department at Forest Department office in Imphal.