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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Royal Bengal Tiger spotted at Raimona National Park; forest officials hope to see more wild cats

Aaranyak, an environmental NGO, has been carrying out the camera-trap population estimates under All-India Tiger Monitoring Programme (AITMP) along with the Forest Department in two blocks of the park

GUWAHATI:

The Department of Forest, Assam, on January 25, shared a report on the presence of a Royal Bengal Tiger in lower Assam’s Raimona National Park in Kokrajhar district, under Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), making it the first evidence of the tiger’s presence after Raimona was announced as a national park on June 5, 2021.

Referring to the development, Pramod Boro, the chief of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), said that the tiger was spotted by forest authorities on December 29, 2021.

Expressing gratitude to Assam chief minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma for declaring Raimon as the 6th National Park in Assam, he said, “This will boost our untiring efforts to preserve the rich flora and fauna in BTR and our dream of making the park, a tiger reserve. It will be the ‘Pride of Assam’.”

Meanwhile, Sarma said that more efforts will be put in to conserve the big cats, adding that it is remarkable to witness the comeback of India’s national animal in Raimona.

Notably, Aaranyak, an environmental NGO, has been carrying out the camera-trap population estimates under All-India Tiger Monitoring Programme (AITMP) along with the Forest Department in two blocks of the park. M Firoz Ahmed, a senior biologist at Aaranyak, led his team to conduct the census.

Anurang Sing, the additional Principal Chief conservator of Forest, said, “We conducted a census on tiger population in the Raimona National Park by camera trap technique which recorded the big cat.”

Dipankar Lahkar, manager of Aaranyak’s Tiger Research and Conservation Division, said, “We captured the image of the tiger in Block I of the park last year, at Tikri under Sarfan range of the National Park. It took us time to prepare an analysis report.”

Interestingly, Raimona recorded no presence of tigers for the past several decades. The post-sighting excitement, therefore, has got nature lovers and forest officials excited.

Bhanu Sinha, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Kachugaon Forest Division, stated, “We hope to see more wild cats in the park, having migrated from other suitable habitats in Bhutan and Manas National Park in Assam.”

The Raimona National Park falls within BTR and includes the northern part of the notified Ripu Reserve Forest (508.62 sq km), which forms the western-most buffer to the Manas National Park, straddling the India-Bhutan border.

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