26 Tigers Sighted in Nilgiris District Alone and A Tiger Sighted Just 80 Km From Bangalore

The all India tiger census that concluded on Monday 23rd Dec hints that there is an increase in tiger population in South India.

Tiger at Bandipur

Another headline that caught the eye of all during the census was the sighting of tigers near Bangalore. as close as 80 km from Bangalore. As this Deccan Herald article on tiger sighting near Bangalore puts it, it is good for the big buck traveler from Bangalore as they need not travel all the way to Nagarhole or Bandipur to see a tiger.
This article actually gives an idea of of how majority of us treat wildlife as a travel / entertainment option rather than a part of our ecosystem which we need to conserve / build up for our secure future.  Few points need to be seen in perspective. The tiger was spotted in the Kowdahalli range which is bordering the MM hills division well east of CWS and across the Cauvery is the newly formed Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary of Tamilnadu covering Melagiri forests which has confirmed leopard presence. The tourists options of Galibore and Bheemeshwari fishing camps are not within the range of the present observed tiger movement. The nearest tip of  CWS is around 80 km from Bangalore and bordering Bannerghatta Wildlife Sanctuary. But to expect the tigers to move to Bannerghatta WS as the news article says is too farfetched.
The tigers being the apex animal of the carnivorous food chain need a good prey base and we need to work on developing a better prey base and a proper feeding ground for the prey base through the entire CWS. This will help the carnivores move across the entire CWS. At present there is a good possibility of the tigers crossing the river Cauvery and making base on the Tamilnadu side of CWS.

CWS is home to few other endangered species like Indian Grizzled Squirrel, smooth skinned Otter, rare fresh water jelly fish, etc.
Few other interesting news bits that trickled out during the tiger census include
A good number of tiger sighting in Nilgiris district covering Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Nilgiri North, South and Gudalur divisions. – http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/environment/flora-fauna/with-26-direct-sightings-recent-tiger-census-brings-cheer-to-wildlife-activists/articleshow/27760720.cms
Lucky sighting of 5 tigers in one hour by a 60 years old volunteer in Bhadra Tiger Reserve – http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bangalore/Oldest-volunteer-sights-5-tigers-in-1-hour/articleshow/27813967.cms

There are a few critics of the tiger census methods used – http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/Experts-Critical-of-Tiger-Census-Methods-Used-by-NTCA/2013/11/28/article1915772.ece
By Bala M


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