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Gujarat to conduct census to ascertain presence of tigers

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

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 was way back in 1985. Now, over three decades later, a has been planned next month to ascertain the presence of the striped animal in the forest of district.

The state forest department earlier sent a proposal to the (NTCA) for the after some suggested the presence of tigers in Dang, which is full of green forests.

The proposal was approved by the NTCA, a statutory body under the Union Ministry of and Forests, Gujarat's conservator of forest (wildlife), G K Sinha, said.

Till the early 80s, there were tigers in Gujarat, mainly inhabiting the forests of Dang, and districts, he said.

"The last tiger died in a road accident in 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 forests," Sinha said.

"We requested the NTCA to include in the tiger because there are some reports in the media about tigers having been sighted in the area. Some villagers also say they saw tigers," he 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 for the purpose, he said.

The counting exercise in Dang will be a part of the nationwide tiger census being conducted by the Wildlife Institute of on the directions of the NTCA, the said.

Notably, boasts of a sizable population of lions, which are a major tourist attraction.

As per the last census conducted in 2015, there are about 650 lions, mainly inhabiting the forests of Gir Somnath, and districts in Saurashtra region of the state.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 10 2018. 11:20 IST