Gujarat, which houses a rich population of lions, will now see an exercise to find out if tigers also inhabit the state.
The last time a tiger was spotted in Gujarat was way back in 1985. Now, over three decades later, a census has been planned next month to ascertain the presence of the striped animal in the forest of Dang district.
The state forest department earlier sent a proposal to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for the census after some media reports suggested the presence of tigers in Dang, which is full of green forests.
"The last tiger died in a road accident in Dang in 1985. No tiger was seen in the state after that. Locals generally confuse hyenas with tigers and that is how they assume there are tigers in Gujarat forests," Sinha said.
The state forest department sent a team in July last year to survey the area to ascertain the presence of tigers but the report was negative.
"Our surveys have shown a negative possibility of tigers in the state, but to put the debate to rest, we decided to include the area (Dang forests) in the census. If there is any such possibility, the census will bring it to its logical end," Sinha said.
After the NTCA agreed for the tiger census in Dang, three officials of the state forest department were sent for training in Assam for the purpose, he said.
Notably, Gujarat boasts of a sizable population of lions, which are a major tourist attraction.
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