Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Madhya Pradesh reclaimed its position of being home to highest number of tigers in the country. It is now home to more than 785 big cats, said the report released by National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India in July.
Another feather in the cap was seventh tiger reserve, Veerangana Durgawati Tiger Reserve, which was formed by merging Sagar’s Nauradeshi Sanctuary and Damoh’s Rani Durgawati Sanctuary. Not all was fine. Nine cheetahs including three cubs died at Kuno National Park.
The cubs died as they could not face the extreme heat of summer. Worse, female cheetah Siyaya discarded the lone surviving cub. At present, this cheetah cub is being hand raised. As few cheetahs died in open jungle during monsoon season, decision was taken to capture all the free ranging cheetahs and put them into enclosures for their health check-up.
The radio collars around their necks caused infection, a reason cited for death of some cheetahs. After a gap of more than three months, Kuno administration decided to release cheetahs in phased manner in jungle in December end. So far, four cheetahs have been released in open jungle. Of them, cheetah Agni reached till Rajasthan border. It was tranqualised and brought back to Kuno jungle in December last week.
Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve officials had hard time in controlling the situation that emerged due to highest density of tigers. They also faced villagers’ wrath as tiger killed villagers. A major controversy surfaced in December when ex-forest minister Kunwar Vijay Shah was accused by wildlife activist Ajay Dubey of enjoying chicken and mutton party in core area of Satpura Tiger Reserve.
Probe is underway into the incident. The state lost 40 tigers either due to poaching or territorial fights. Some poachers were arrested for electrocuting tigers. Pench Tiger Reserve shot to fame when cricket legend Sachin Tendularkar reached there with wife and close persons. He stayed there for a few days and enjoyed sighting the wildlife.
Visitors flocked to Pench Tiger Reserve to see black panther. Two tigers of Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve declared unfit for survival were brought to Van Vihar National Park in November. The sighting of urban tigers on the outskirts of Kerwa in Bhopal remained in media headlines. Their numbers is increasing in Kerwa jungles.