The tiger population in Assam’s Manas National Park has increased to 46 in 2021 from 10 in the year 2010 bringing cheer among forest officials and wildlife enthusiasts amid the pandemic gloom. In this year’s census by camera-trapping, 46 big cats were spotted, Park Director Amal Chandra Sarma said.
The survey covered forest divisions and wildlife sanctuaries in a phased manner with the camera traps first placed in Bansbari and Bhuyanpara ranges and later at the Kahitama, Panbari, First Addition, and Bornadi.
The population of other animals like the Bengal Florican increased to 74 this year from 60 in 2014, while 129 swamp deers were recorded against 99 last year. During the 2019-20 census, there were 28 leopards and seven black panthers in the park, and their populations were also expected to increase this year, Sarma added.
“A rise of 16 tigers, which is over 50 percent, in a year is indeed a remarkable achievement and the increased sightings indicate that conservation efforts are working in the park,” he said. Among the 46 Royal Bengal Tigers, 19 are adult females, 16 male adults, three sub-adults, and seven cubs, he added.
Enlisted in the ‘World Heritage Site in Danger List’ in 1992, Manas came a long way in its conservation journey getting back to its world heritage status in 2011, the officer said. “It is heartening to note that four tigers were sighted outside the core in the 350 sq km First Addition area for the first time,” Sarma said.